Tata Steel agrees British pensions deal

Reuters

Reuters

The British Steel Pension Scheme has been the major hurdle to a tie-up between Tata's British and European steel assets with those of Thyssenkrupp.

"Following the RAA, it is anticipated that if risk-related qualifying conditions relating to funding and size can be satisfied, a new pension scheme sponsored by TSUK will be set up". "Following the above, we. are hopeful of reaching a final agreement shortly". Full-year EBITDA was Rs 11,953 crore for the company, Tata Steel said. Tata Steel has been involved in ongoing discussions with the BSPS, the Pensions Regulator, and the Pension Provident Fund (PPF) over the settlement of liabilities. This includes a £550 million payment from Tata Steel to the BSPS, and the BSPS being awarded a 33% equity stake in Tata Steel UK.

TSUK sponsorship of a new scheme is conditional upon satisfaction of certain qualifying conditions.

A PPF spokesperson confirmed the commercial details and said members of the scheme could rely on the lifeboat fund to protect them and receive PPF levels of compensation at the minimum.

Koushik Chatterjee, Group Executive Director of Tata Steel, attends a news conference announcing the fourth quarter results of the company in Mumbai May 16, 2017.

While far from finalised, the RAA signals a landmark moment for United Kingdom defined benefit pension schemes, given the high-profile nature of the case.

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While some industry experts expect this to be only an interim move, with Tata later paying an insurer to take on the scheme or putting in an agreed sum to separate itself completely, others believe regulators would never allow Tata entirely off the hook.

"This would meet our published principles, including that an insolvency of the scheme's sponsoring employer, Tata Steel UK, would otherwise be inevitable".

BSPS members would be given the option of moving to the new scheme, or remaining with the original scheme, which will transfer to the PPF.

The steelmaker in March signed an agreement with trade unions at its United Kingdom plants to cut workers' pension benefits.

"This is the commitment Tata has given to the workforce, and the trade unions will hold them to the promises they have made", the unions of Community, Unite and the GMB said in a joint statement.

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