Sainsbury’s and BAE Systems in pensions boost

Sainsbury’s is to inject £350m into its pension fund to help to fill the £582m deficit facing its schemes.

The payments will be made in two installments, £150m in March 2006 and £200m in May 2006.

The supermarket chain is proposing to raise up to £2.07bn of new secured debt of which £1.7bn will be used to buy back its unsecured bonds and £350m will go towards pensions.

Sainsbury’s added that the trustees of the fund will be reviewing the schemes’ investment strategies with the aim of reducing risk.

John Adshead, chairman of the trustee boards of the pension schemes at Sainsbury’s, said: “Following discussions with the company we believe that the agreement we have reached is a fair balance between the needs and expectations of members and the financial support provided by Sainsbury’s to improve the funding of the schemes and increase the security of benefits.”

The T&G union praised the move saying it “will be seen in a very positive light by T&G members of the pension schemes”.

In a separate development BAE Systems is to make a one-off contribution to its main UK pension fund of £350m in cash and property as part of its agreement to tackle its £2.4bn deficit.

The cost of tackling the deficit will be met on a 60/40 basis between the company and its staff.

BAE will raise contributions to the pension fund and will put in £240m in property assets and £110m in cash to the main fund.

Employees accepted the deal, which they chose over options to work longer or taking reduced benefits.

“These actions enable the company to maintain this defined benefit scheme for existing members at a cost acceptable to the company,” BAE said.

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