Trinity Mirror Group to pay £36m to plug pension deficit

Trinity Mirror Group is to pay £36.2 million over the next three years to help plug its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme deficit.

The publishing organisation announced the funding arrangements in its Preliminary results report after the scheme’s deficit increased by £49 million last year to £301.2 million.

This reflected the impact of an increase in liabilities of £47.1 million and a fall in assets of £1.9 million.

It agreed the deficit funding arrangements for the period between 2015 and 2017 following the triennial valuations that took place on 31 December 2013 and were finalised at the end of last year.

During 2014, the organisation pre-paid £17 million of the contributions due in 2015 and 2016 because of its strong cash flows.

In December it pre-paid deficit funding contributions of £16.5 million in respect of 2015 and 0.5 million in respect of 2016.

Overall payments in 2014 amounted to £18.2 million.

Contributions due in 2015, 2016 and 2017 will be £19.7 million, £35.7 million and £36.2 million respectively with annual contributions thereafter of £36 million per year.

It has also agreed that because of the dividend payments, additional contributions at 50% of the excess would be paid if dividends in 2015 were about 5 pence per share.

Trinity Mirror Group’s next valuation date of the scheme will take place on 31 December 2016 and finalised by the end of 2017.

The organisation’s DB scheme closed to future accrual in 2010.

Its report stated: “The increase in liabilities has been driven by a further fall in the real discount rate of 0.40% from 1.05% to 0.65% partially offset by the payment of pensions and a reduction for buy-ouyts.

“The increase in the accounting pension deficit does not impact the agreed funding commitments.”