UK - Publisher DC Thomson has taken a pension contribution holiday despite a fall of £108m in the value of its scheme's assets.
The Dundee-based family-run firm – which publishes titles including Beano and Sunday Post – revealed operating profits of £19.1m for 2003, up 50%, while its final salary scheme’s assets fell from £455m to £347m.
The firm said it could afford to take a contributions holiday because the scheme ended last year with a surplus of £94m.
The publisher also revealed that the pension scheme costs cut its profits by £5m.
But trade union GPMU – which has more than 200 members at the firm – criticised the decision.
It said: “Although the pension is in surplus, it is still not an ideal thing to do.”
But Mercer Human Resources Consulting partner Peter Bowers said a fall in assets should not stop a company taking a holiday when it was in surplus.
He said: “With a surplus you can sustain fluctuations in the equity market without actually going into deficit so you can afford to stop paying contributions for a while.”
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