Trustees of Morrisons’ pension schemes have raised concerns on Tuesday over a £7 billion private equity takeover from either of two leading suitors which could “materially weaken” their financial position.
The Morrisons board agreed last week to a debt-fuelled takeover by the US private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R). CD&R’s 285p-per-share offer beat the offer of Fortress, a rival suitor.
Trustees from the Morrison’s Retirement Saver Plan and the Safeway Pension Scheme raised concerns that savings tied to the listed supermarket business will be affected by the takeover of either firm unless more assurances could be put in place prior to the takeover.
The pension scheme trustees said in a statement that they started discussions with Fortress over their concerns and had an introductory meeting with CD&R representatives last week.
“We hope agreement can be reached as soon as possible on an additional security package that provides protection for members’ benefits,” said Steve Southern, the chair of trustees for the Morrisons Retirement Saver Plan and the Safeway Pension Scheme.
CD&R reassured that if its takeover was successful, the pension rights of all of Morrisons’ management team and employees would be “fully safeguarded.”
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