Dignity plc results are “mixed”

Dignity plc, Great Britain’s largest funeral home and crematory operator announced last week in this report that you can see from Morningstar, that their 1st Quarter 2022 revenues and operating profits fell considerably over the same period of 2021.  However, it also appears that Dignity plc was able to increase their market share for services conducted in Great Britain.

Financial performance was affected by the decision of Dignity plc in September 2021 to reduce its prices to the consumer after much angst was generated over their pricing policies during the past years.  Here’s what CEO Gary Channon said in this Yahoo Finance article, Whilst the impact of the pandemic has made year-on-year comparisons difficult, the early signs of our new strategy are coming through.  Increased competitiveness is showing up in across-the-board growth in market share at the cost of average revenue per funeral.  The combined effect of the drop in the death rate following the pandemic during a time of strategic change for the group is what we were protecting against when we sought and agreed the deal with our bondholders.   That gives us the ability to pursue the right long-term strategy whatever happens to the death rate this year.”

It’s interesting to note that Dignity’s Revenue per case, gross revenues, and case numbers all dropped during this quarter, however, the company’s market share for funerals of all deaths in Great Britain rose from 11.7% in 1Q 2021 to 12.8% in 1Q 2022.  Also very interesting for 1Q 2022 as compared to 1Q 2021 is that deaths in Great Britain decreased by 19% overall — from 204,000 in the first quarter of 2021 to only 166,000 in the first quarter of 2022.

Those death numbers are slightly below the five-year averages of the pre-Covid years in Great Britain. . . maybe foretelling a story of “pull-forward” pandemic deaths that may continue going forward.

And, while market share numbers were higher for Dignity plc in the first quarter of 2022 their total number of funeral services in the first quarter of 2022 were 21,200 compared to 23,800 last year.  That’s a drop of about 11% in raw funeral numbers.

Dignity plc had revenue in 1Q22 of US$ 92.2 million as compared to US$ 118.1 million in 1Q21. . .that’s a decrease of about 22%.  The company had Operating Profits in 1Q22 of US$ 11.23 million as compared to US$ 33.8 million in 1Q21. . .that’s a decrease of about 67%.

Dignity plc operates 795 funeral facilities and 46 crematoria across Great Britain.  Funeral Service Times estimates that Dignity plc has pre-arranged funeral plans on approximately 581,000 consumers as of the end of 2021.

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