Funeral firm Dignity posts a year of steady growth

FUNERAL company Dignity said death and taxes had helped it grow last year, after it posted a 1.3 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to £40.3m.

The firm, which conducts more than one in every ten funerals in the UK, said its tax bill had dropped from £10.8m to £6m in the year, mostly thanks to one-off credits.

Revenues rose 5.5 per cent to £210.1m. The firm said it had been a record year for sales of pre-arranged funeral plans, with 265,000 people now paying in advance for their funerals.

But it added that “the number of deaths in the first quarter of 2012 is expected to be a lower proportion of the year as a whole than in 2011”.

Dignity added 33 new locations during the year, as part of its expansion programme that started in 2010. It also completed construction on two new crematoria, taking its market share up to 8.8 per cent.

The firm said it had £14.1m in cash available to make further acquisitions. Costs grew five per cent to £31.1m due to higher pension costs and a rise in headcount.