Uniq proposes equity swap with pensions fund

Uniq has proposed swapping the majority of its shares with its pension scheme to plug its deficit of £436 million.

The chilled food company is seeking approval from the Pensions Regular to implement the deficit for equity swap with a partial share buy-back from the pension fund.

The proposal will involve an effective transfer of 90% of new shares in Uniq to the trustee of the pension scheme, in exchange for the scheme giving up its claim on the company.

Uniq will also offer the scheme the option so sell a proportion of its shares back to the company at a pre-agreed price.

The deal requires the approval of the pension scheme trustee, the Pensions Regulator, and the Pension Protection Fund.

Geoff Eaton, chief executive, Uniq, said: “The improving performance of our businesses and the proposed final resolution of the legacy pension deficit through the deficit for equity swap will allow us to focus on creating value for the benefit of all our stakeholders including the pension scheme as the majority shareholder.”

The Pensions Regulator stated that, “it is pleased to note the progress made in discussions between the company and the trustee to resolve this issue and the attention given to the feedback provided by the Pensions Regular.

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“The Pensions Regular looks forward to considering the formal application when submitted.”

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