Reach Plc's DB pension deficit more than halves in H1 2021

Reach Plc, the publishing house for the Daily MirrorDaily Express and Daily Star, has seen its IAS 19 defined benefit (DB) pension deficit more than halve in H1 2021, from £255.5m to £118.7m.

The decrease was attributed to an increase in the discount rate and deficit recovery contributions.

Reach operates six DB schemes, all of which are closed to future accrual.

The company made total contributions of £37.1m in the first half of 2021, up from the £22m during the whole of 2020, comprising £9.6m to the West Ferry Printers Pension Scheme and £27.5m to the remaining five schemes.

The contribution to the West Ferry scheme enabled it to purchase a bulk annuity and all members liabilities’ are now covered by annuity policies.

For H2 2021, Reach plans to contribute £27.6m to the five other schemes, with no further funding expected for the West Ferry scheme.

Contributions under the current schedule, excluding the West Ferry scheme, are £55.1m in 2022 and 2023, £54.9m in 2024, 2025 and 2026, and £52.9m in 2027.

Reach had suspended its deficit recovery contributions in April 2020 due to the impact of Covid-19, but resumed the payments in July of the same year.

The triennial valuation for funding of the DB pension schemes, as at 31 December 2019, would usually be completed by 31 March 2021.

However, although the firm has agreed the funding of the West Ferry Printers Pension Scheme, the discussions with the remaining five schemes are ongoing having been delayed by Covid-19.

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