Finance

Dignity Plc 9-month report: More services, more revenue, less profit

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Dignity plc, the United Kingdom’s only publicly listed provider of funeral related services released its report on the first nine months of its 2020 business year earlier this week.  You can read highlights of that report here in a short synopsis of such from Reuters.

In essence, the number of deaths in Great Britain increased approximately 15% over the same period of one year ago. Dignity Plc saw their services for January -September 2020 grow to 61,200 from 52,100 in the same period of 2019 — that’s an approximate 18% increase.

The company also saw their total revenue increase about 4% to US $ 310.7 million in 2020 as compared to US $ 298.7 for the first three quarters of 2019.

Unfortunately, the increase in number of cases and the increase in total revenue did not lead to increased operating profit. . . which fell by about 8% from US $ 63.5 million in 2019 to US $ 58.6 million for the first 39 weeks of 2020.

According to the Reuters article profits were probably reduced because “people were opting for simpler funerals because of social distancing rules and limitations on gatherings.”  It should be noted that Dignity Plc mentioned that in October, however, the number of “full service” funerals had rebounded back to 44% from a low of 26% in the 2nd Quarter of 2020.  Average revenue per case has also rebounded to US $ 3,286 in October 2020 as compared to US $ 3,154 in the 3rd Quarter. . . that’s an increase of 4.2%.

For comparison sake, “Full Service” services were listed as being used 52% for the year 2019 and were listed as being selected 40% of the time in the 3rd Quarter of 2020.  “Simple and Limited Service” services were listed as being used only 14% of the time for 2019 and have now settled at 25% for 3Q 2020 after going as high as 37% in Q2 2020.

In our research of Dignity Plc we also found this informative report from a source called publicnow.com.  It appears to be a publicly required report on Dignity Plc performance.  Here are some comments from it:

  • “2020 is proving to be a unique and challenging year, with the impact of COVID-19 on our daily lives likely to continue for many months to come. For people losing loved ones at this time, their ability to grieve and to gain closure remains adversely impacted.”
  • “Following the terrible impact of COVID-19 in the second quarter this year, the number of deaths in the third quarter was broadly flat on the prior year. The final quarter of 2019 witnessed 152,000 deaths and deaths in October were broadly flat on the prior year.” 
  • “The Group will not speculate on the most likely outcome for the remainder of the year, however it is possible that the tragic events of 2020 may mean 2021 and 2022 could experience a lower number of deaths than in 2019.”
  • As a result of the crisis, the Group decided to temporarily withdraw the provision of limousines in the interests of the welfare of its staff and clients. Other choices such as church services also stopped being possible during this time.” 
  • “Client choices and therefore average income are likely to vary more by region in the coming months depending on the local restrictions in place.”

Dignity Plc is said to own and operate about 800 funeral locations and 46 crematoria in Great Britain.

Related:  You may have noticed recently in the international news that Great Britain will be going through a new set of lockdown dates.  Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new lockdowns for the period of November 5 through December 2.  You can read about that decision in this article.

The following is what that article has to say about Great Britain funeral regulations during this time period:

“Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, and it is advised that only close friends and family attend.  Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance and anyone working is not included.  Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.  In March, the government faced criticism after it updated its coronavirus guidelines to limit the number of people allowed to attend funerals to groups of between five and 10.”

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