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TM “confused” by Pension Regulator’s position

Posted: August 3rd, 2012

Comments made about the Pensions Regulator by Trinity Mirror finance director Vijay Vaghela, pictured, were highlighted in wide coverage in both print and web media of Trinity Mirror’s first-half pre-tax profits, which rose to £35.1m from £28.9m a year earlier despite reduced revenues.

 

London Evening Standard, August 2, 2012

Trinity Mirror profits leap
Trinity Mirror shares today soared by a quarter in the wake of strong profits, but the newspaper publisher sparked a fresh row over its pension deficit by attacking regulators for refusing to talk.
Finance director Vijay Vaghela said he has had “no dialogue” since he wrote a letter to the pensions regulator in March, after his decision to defer £70 million of payments into its pension funds.
Vaghela described the lack of response as “confusing”, because “there was a lot of speculation that the pensions regulator would be unhappy”.

The deferral was controversial because Trinity used the cash to pay off loans, raising fears about a potential risk to the pension scheme, which has a £200 million deficit. He is now proceeding on the basis he won’t have to change his plans. But independent expert Ros Altmann of Saga said Trinity should not assume the regulator will not intervene as it moved slowly.

John Ralfe, another expert, said: “The idea that ‘they didn’t come knocking at the door the next day, so we’re OK’ is unrealistic.”
Vaghela did say Trinity Mirror’s pension trustees, who are independent of the company’s management, have had contact with the regulator.
A spokesman for The Pensions Regulator said: “We can confirm that we are in discussions with the pension trustees, but are unable to comment in detail on specific companies or pension schemes due to restrictions under the Pensions Act 2004.”

The i, August 3, 2012
Trinity up amid pension row
Trinity Mirror shares soared by nearly a fifth yesterday in the wake of strong profits, but the newspaper publisher sparked a fresh row over its pension deficit by attacking regulators for refusing to talk.
Vijay Vaghela, the finance director, said he has had “no dialogue” since he wrote a letter to the pensions regulator in March, after his decision to defer £70m of payments into its pension funds.
Mr Vaghela said the lack of response was “confusing”, because “there was a lot of speculation that the pensions regulator would be unhappy”.

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