Arcadia £100m pension cash injection insufficient – TPR

A proposed shareholder cash injection of £100m into the Arcadia pension scheme as part of its company voluntary agreement (CVA) would be insufficient to protect its members, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has warned.

Arcadia owner Philip Green announced the CVA proposal in March, which looked to halve the scheme's recovery payments from £50m to £25m, in a move that would see pension contributions reduced.

The planned £100m contribution would be paid over the next three years in an attempt to protect the pension scheme and its members.

Despite this, TPR believed that this would not be enough to guarantee that the scheme and its members would be safeguarded.

A TPR spokesperson said: “We note from the CVA announcement that the shareholder is prepared to put an additional £100m into the scheme over a number of years to bridge a shortfall in deficit recovery contributions.

“However, we do not consider the proposals are sufficient to ensure that members of the scheme are adequately protected.”

In order for the company's recovery plan to proceed, Green would need it to be voted into action by Arcadia's creditor base, although TPR's denouncement of the proposal could harm his chances.

The Arcadia scheme currently has a deficit of over £500m.

A TPR spokesperson added: “As part of our role to protect pension savers and the Pension Protection Fund, we remain in discussions with the company and the trustees to understand the impact of the CVA proposals on the scheme and to ensure the strongest possible outcome is achieved.”

In April, Work and Pensions Select Committee chair, Frank Field, wrote to TPR expressing his concerns that Green was up to his “old tricks” when the CVA plan was initially announced.

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