Waterford and Wedgwood pension shortfall cause for concern

The collapse of Waterford Wedgwood has cast doubt over future pension provision for some of its current and former employees, with estimates showing a pension scheme shortfall of more than £100m.

The firm’s interim financial results for 2008 showed the defined benefit pension scheme had a deficit of 147.9m EUROS (£137m), which could mean it is forced to seek help from the PPF to pay member’s benefits.

While the PPF guarantees benefits for UK based employees, the scheme’s Irish members could loose part or all of their savings as they are not secured by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

The financial report does not detail the split between of benefits between workers in the UK and Ireland. 

The PPF has confirmed that Waterford Wedgwood’s pension scheme has not yet been entered into the PPF’s assessment period, however it has said it is well prepared to manage large-scale liabilities. A PPF spokesperson said such pension liabilities are sometimes bought-out by private insurers.