Assurances sought on Toys R Us pension scheme

21 December, 2017, 01:13 | Author: Clint Gray
  • The Toys R Us store on the Birchley Island at Oldbury, is one of those that would be preserved under the CVA deal

The loss-making British arm of the USA toy retailer boosted Roger McLaughlan's pay to £1.3 million ($2.2 million) in the year ended January 30, 2016, from £1 million and £356,000 in the previous two years, Frank Field, the chairperson of the House of Commons' works and pensions committee, said in a December 18 letter to Toys "R" Us U.K.'s current head, Stephen Knights.

Earlier this month, Toys R Us confirmed that it was set to close at least 26 stores in the United Kingdom as part of a proposed company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

If the procedure were unsuccessful, it was considered likely that all 84 stores and a few more pop-ups would be forced to shut their doors, potentially leaving as many as 3,200 staff out of work.

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The questions add to pressure on Toys "R" Us U.K. management as they struggle to reach a deal with a pension bailout fund ahead of a key creditor vote on Thursday.

But the deficit is higher under the PPF's assessment and it is understood that the pensions lifeboat fears that pensioners and the fund will be left at risk without £9m in extra cash.

Insolvency rules mean the CVA requires the support of the PPF, a statutory body set up to compensate pension fund members in the event of a company's collapse.

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Steve Knights, managing director of Toys R Us UK, said: "All of our stores across the UK remain open for business as normal through Christmas and well into the New Year".

He added that: "The pension scheme is already underfunded and, if we were to vote in favour of the CVA, we would need actions taken that ensure the position of the pension scheme was not going to further weaken".

"Given the position of the company, we strongly believe seeking assurances for the pension scheme is reasonable given the deficit in the scheme and questions about the overall position of the company".

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However, it is understood Toys R Us's United Kingdom business does not have the resources to meet that demand.

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