UK – The BT Pension Scheme’s deficit has been cut by almost €600m in the nine months to the end of last year.

“The IAS 19 net pension obligation at December 31 2005 was a deficit of £2.9bn, net of tax, being a reduction of £0.4bn (€581m) since March 310 2005,” said phone firm BT.

It added: “The BT Pension Scheme had assets of £34bn at December 31 2005.”

The company recorded an actuarial gain of £560m net of tax in the three quarters to the end of last year.

It recognised a pension liability of £4.3bn. A £1.1bn pension prepayment on the balance sheet has also been reversed including the associated deferred tax liability of £335m.

It said the net effect has been a reduction in shareholders’ funds of £3,7bn.

BT’s third-quarter pre-tax profit before specific items rose 2% to £568m, while revenue was up 8% at £4.9bn.

Last month the BT scheme awarded a £1bn commodities brief to Hermes, the asset manager it owns.