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Uniq to be 90% Owned By Pension Scheme

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Uniq to be 90% Owned By Pension Scheme

October 22
14:03 2010

Uniq has proposed a solution to its £436m legacy pension deficit which would involve the company’s Pension Scheme becoming the majority shareholder in the UK chilled convenience food processor with a 90% shareholding. The Trustee of the Uniq Pension Scheme and the company have concluded that the most appropriate solution would be to seek approval from both shareholders and the UK Pensions Regulator to implement a deficit for equity swap together with a re-leveraging of the company to fund a partial share buy-back from the pension fund.

Geoff Eaton, chief executive of Uniq.

The proposed solution involves an effective transfer of 90% of the equity in Uniq to the Trustee in exchange for the Pension Scheme giving up its claim on the company. Uniq would also offer the Pension Scheme a put option to sell a proportion of its shares back to the company, at a pre-agreed price per share, for a total consideration of up to £25m to £30m, funded through the cash generated from the proceeds from the disposals of the businesses on the Continent. The final details of these proposals have yet to be agreed with the Trustee. The Pension Regulator rejected an earlier proposal in July.

“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,” comments Geoff Eaton, chief executive of Uniq.

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