Britain’s second favourite undertaker

Charles Cowling


Here are some up-to-date headline stats on Dignity plc, the brand that dares not speak its name.

Valued at £460m

Average earnings growth of around 15% over the past five years. Growth is forecast to be at a similar level in the current year and 11% in 2012.

Debt stands at £319 million, up from £238.5 million in June 2010.

In the first half of 2011, revenues rose by 7% to £108 million and profits rose slightly to £24.5 million. 

During the first half of 2011, the company spent £11 million on seven acquisitions, in addition to opening 11 new satellite locations at a cost of £500,000.

Handles 12% of total deaths in UK.

UK’s largest single operator of crematoria. Underlying profits grew by 12.6% during the period to £11.6 million. 

Affinity partners include Legal & General, Asda and Age UK.

You may now applaud. 

Source: Motley Fool

The Good Funeral Guide congratulates Dignity on the great value it offers shareholders, and welcomes all good news it may wish to communicate via us to consumers. Get in touch, chaps!

2 thoughts on “Britain’s second favourite undertaker

  1. Charles Cowling
    andrew plume

    quote from Charles’ succinct summary:

    “…….in addition to opening 11 new satellite locations at a cost of £500,000………”

    yes the good marketing folk of Dignity have, ahem, as far as I can see launched these new locations with names as thrilling and imaginative as;-

    ‘Abbey Funeral Service’
    ‘Daisy Funeral Directors’
    ‘Droitwich Spa Funeral Service’
    ‘Dundee Funeral Service’
    ‘Hinksey Funeral Service’
    Hornchurch & Essex Funeral Service’
    ‘Hounslow Funeral Service’
    ‘Romford & Essex Funeral Service’
    ‘Tilbury & Essex Funeral Services’
    ‘Whitchurch Funeral Services’

    ………..all of which, I’m sure will have the punters flocking to them, no I’m afraid not – they have just opened in areas to tempt trade away from others, I suggest that these new branches will take years to recoup the start up costs and yes, who pays for this…………well of course, mr, mrs and miss average punter


    Charles Cowling
  2. Charles Cowling
    andrew plume

    ah yes, Charles…………………..

    I’m somewhat disappointed that your very precise summary of said results for Dignity have met without any comment. In true consistency of my campaign against such corporates, it’s time for a post

    As is also the case with funeralcare and LM, to name two, yes, it’s wonderful these results but what does it mean for the average punter in the street?

    Well, little other than the cost escalates for them, they, the punters, are rightly not interested in acquisitions and new branches, no but they should be as they are funding the cost of said growth – since the expansion cost is surely part footed by them. Why should they have to contribute to this? In my view they certainly should not…………….

    Now, this post has been inspired by a visit today to Stroud, Gloucs, in fact. The home not only of the very credible James Showers, who posts as you know on here but also of Michael Gamble an independent too but more particularly, that of Philip Ford & Son or more the point Dignity Plc t/a PF & Son. Dignity have owned this concern for a few years or so, prior to that the old PF & Son had 100% or near that percentage, from memory of all Stroud funerals. Anyhow as I drove around the small Stroud ring road, in the immediate distance, there was not one sign on the boundary of the Ford premises but three, which to me smacks of nothing other than, they are concerned with the local independent choices that are now available

    Our corporate friends are therefore uncomfortable with competition, which is hardly new news

    My concern with Dignity vis a vis the punter/consumer, is that they have so many ‘legacy firms’ on their books who did an amazing number of funerals pa before they were acquired but are pretty well ‘lemons’ now and are scarcely doing a fraction of what they were pre-acquisition. Said lemons or turkeys depending on ones choice of words still have to be funded and it’s the punter again who has to pick up the tab. Sure punters still instruct Dignity’s ‘core named firms (sic)’ such as Fredk W Paine, Francis Chappell and TH Sanders but other big ‘hitting names’ of 20 or 30 years ago have had their share drastically reduced. One never sees mention of that in the Dignity corporate spin, does one?

    For anoraks like me, it’s very relevant that if the previous corporate structure of SCI (and no further comment is really needed) had not swallowed up the old Great Southern Plc, where would Dignity Plc be now? After all it was Great Southern who owned the crematoria operation and also said three legacy funeral directors that i’ve just mentioned



    Charles Cowling

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