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Dignity FY Profit Edges Up

Dignity Plc. (DTY.L), a provider of funeral related services, reported that its preliminary profit attributable to equity shareholders for the 52 week period ended 29 December 2017 slightly increased to 57.8 million pounds or 115.6 pence per share from 57.2 million pounds or 114.6 pence per share last year.

Underlying profit after tax was 64.0 million pounds up from 59.4 million pounds in the previous year.

Profit before tax was 71.2 million pounds, same with the prior year.

Revenue for the year grew to 324.0 million pounds from 313.6 million pounds in the prior year.

The business model for the Group's funeral business is changing as the Board focuses on protecting market share by introducing new service offerings and price points. As indicated in January, the Board believes that whilst the combination of action being taken will lead to substantially lower profits in 2018, it should create a new platform to allow many years of further stable growth.

The Office for National Statistics anticipates approximately 580,000 deaths in 2018, a small decrease of 10,000 on the actual deaths in 2017. However, the number of deaths in the first two months of 2018 are approximately seven per cent higher than the prior year.

The Board proposed to maintain the final dividend at 15.74 pence per Ordinary Share bringing the total dividend for the year to 24.38 pence, an increase of three per cent on the previous year. If shareholders approve this payment at the Annual General Meeting on 7 June 2018, then it will be paid on 29 June 2018 to members on the register at close of business on 18 May 2018.

The Group's 2017 financial performance was sufficiently strong to justify an award to Executive Directors of 95 per cent of the maximum amount possible of their annual bonus opportunity. However, in light of the significant reduction in financial expectations for 2018 following the trading update in January 2018, the current Executive Directors have decided to voluntarily waive their entitlement in full.
In addition, no Board member will receive an increase in basic salary or fees in 2018.

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