The group clarified its position last night as pensions controversy rumbles on...
Independent News & Media (INM) attempted to make its position on controversial pension developments at the company clearer last night.
The group issued a statement after the markets closed confirming that it is in ongoing discussions with the trustees of two defined benefit pension schemes at the company and addressing what it says is some inaccurate recent media commentary on the issue.
INM said it has never been its intention to renege on its 2013 agreement with pension trustees, which saw many members’ benefits reduced by an average of 30% at that time and that it will continue to make pension funding contributions of more than €11m per year until 2023, as agreed three years ago.
It also stresses that the recent proposals, approved by shareholders to restructure the group’s balance sheet, were not initiated to enable an early re-commencement of dividend payments. It says company strategy remains focused on funding acquisitions and any dividends must come from future generated profits and be specifically approved by a prior-year AGM.
The company seems committed to closing its remaining defined benefit schemes: reports this morning suggest its discussions with the trustees on Monday centred on establishing defined contribution schemes that will protect to a greater degree the pension of members closer to retirement and who don’t have a chance to make up the deficit over time
The trustees will meet the Pensions Authority today while INM holds a board meeting on Thursday.