UK - WHSmith is cutting its pension scheme deficit by £120m following the sale of its publishing business Hodder Headline to France's Hachette Livre for £223m.
The deal gives a payout to the high street retailer’s shareholders and allows it to borrow £120m from a consortium of banks to cut the fund’s £215m deficit. The loan was conditional upon the sale of Hodder.
WHSmith also said it would pay off the remaining deficit over the next nine years instead of the current 12-year arrangement.
WHSmith chief executive Kate Swann said: “The board initiated discussions with pension fund trustees following its decision to divest Hodder Headline.
“We will make a one-off payment of £120m to pay down some of the deficit, and then we will reschedule the remainder of the payments to pay off the entire deficit over nine years.”
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