Undertaker Dignity trims its tax bill despite a rise in profits

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The Independent Online

Of the two certainties in life – death and taxes – listed undertaker Dignity is making more money out of the former and paying less of the latter.

Last year, the graveyard specialist with 600 funeral parlours across the UK saw relatives pay £210.1m to see off their relatives, 5.5 per cent more than in 2010.

Profit before tax was up too, 1.3 per cent higher at £40.3m, but Dignity managed to trim its tax rate from 29 per cent in 2010 to 27.5 per cent last year, and said the recent cuts in corporation tax meant its bill would fall again this year to about 26.5 per cent.

In what sounds like good news for everyone in Britain bar Dignity investors, Mike McCollum, chief executive, said: "2012 has started more quietly than 2011."

The number of deaths in the first three months of this year is expected to come in lower than the same time in 2011. But the undertaker added that demand for its planning-ahead funeral deals hit record levels: 265,000 Britons have already paid for their demise.