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29 Jul 2020 | 09:54

Dignity profits rise amid coronavirus deaths

(Sharecast News) - Funeral services provider Dignity reported a jump in interim profit and revenue on Wednesday amid a surge in deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the 26 weeks to 26 June, underlying pre-tax profit rose 11% to £26.5m, as revenue grew 9% to £169.1m. Dignity said the number of deaths was "significantly higher" than average, mainly due to Covid-19.

The number of deaths in the first half increased 23% from the same period a year ago to 368,000.

However, average income per funeral was materially lower due to restrictions in client choices because of the pandemic and as people opted for more simple funerals.

"Sadly, deaths in the second quarter materially exceeded any level witnessed in the last 20 years," the company said.

Executive chairman Clive Whiley said: "With the exception of business rates relief, we expect to complete 2020 without any direct financial support from shareholders, nor indeed Her Majesty's Government, without furloughing any employee and having reinvested any benefit from business rates relief in the protection of the welfare of our staff and our clients."

At 0950 BST, the shares were up 6.6% at 259.50p.
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