Aviva to take control of £50m scheme

Aviva is in line to take control of the Wyevale Garden Centre pension scheme, worth around £50m, after its owner announced plans to break up the firm.

First reported by This is Money, the deal was revealed to have been given the go-ahead by private equity firm Terra Firma.

The Wyevale board began the process of finding an insurer with Terra Firma last year, which included providing £20m for the scheme to ensure that member benefits were safeguarded.

Wyevale has sold 145 of its outlets in 57 different deals, mostly other garden centre chains, and hopes that the deal will ensure that the scheme does not fall into the Pension Protection Fund.

A source told This is Money: “When a business is broken up, the future of the pension fund is normally cast into doubt.

“But this is a unique arrangement, with the business break-up being entirely solvent, over 95 per cent of staff transferring to the new business, and with the pension fund fully-funded and well looked after in the long term.”

The deal could be announced as early as this week, with Aviva poised to take control of the scheme.

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