Debenhams to exit PPF assessment following CVA approval

Debenhams is set to leave the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) assessment period following the approval of the company voluntary agreement (CVA) by its creditors.

According to the group, the creditors supported the CVA proposals with a majority “significantly above” the required 75 per cent threshold.

The firm published the details to two CVAs, after administrators were appointed to Debenhams on 9 April, following a failed agreement with lenders beyond the £200m decided at the end of March.

Scheme members will receive the usual payments while they enter the assessment period, according to the PPF.

A spokesman for the Debenhams Pension Schemes said: "The trustees welcome the news that Debenhams' creditors have voted in favour of the CVA.

“They hope that the CVA process will complete successfully and that it will facilitate a sustainable solution for Debenhams, which will ensure that the schemes are supported in the long term.

"As the trustees have made clear previously, all pensions will continue to be paid as normal during the CVA process. The trustees will continue to keep members informed of developments."

As part of the CVA, Debenhams stores will remain open for the rest of 2019, while up to 22 stores are expected to close in 2020.

Debenhams executive chairman, Terry Duddy, said: "I am grateful to our suppliers, our pension stakeholders and our landlords who have overwhelmingly backed our store restructuring plans.

“We will continue to work to preserve as many stores and jobs as possible through this process. This is a further important step to give us the platform to deliver a turnaround."

Further store closures are expected to be announced “in due course”.

The department store also confirmed that it has not received the level of bids required to be taken forward, meaning the ownership remains with the consortium Celine.

Following entering into administration, Debenhams was required to try and find a buyer for the store. Celine has reiterated its commitment to the business.

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