DuPont, the multinational chemicals company, is to relocate its workers’ pensions in the Netherlands to its European pension fund (DEPF) in Belgium next year.
The relocation involves €235m in pension assets for 400 workers employed by three of DuPont’s subsidiaries – DuPont de Nemours, DuPont Filaments and Genencor International.
Union FNV announced the cross-border move, saying it was satisfied with the decision, “as the new arrangements would be future-proof and cheaper for the sponsor”.
It confirmed that company’s existing financial agreements in the Netherlands – including contribution level and its duty to plug funding gaps – would remain unchanged.
The FNV also highlighted that the works council (OR) and new pensions committee had been given “a strong say” in the decision.
Last year, during a hearing in the Dutch parliament, Gijs van Dijk, the FNV’s spokesman on pensions, said his union would consider all of its options in “blocking the Belgium route” for Dutch pension funds.
The pension plans of DuPont’s Dutch subsidiaries have been implemented by the €1.3bn Pensioenfonds Chemours Nederland, but their contracts are set to expire at year-end.
The Pensioenfonds Chemours Nederland was, until last year, named Pensioenfonds DuPont Nederland.
Chemours, in turn, was a DuPont subsidiary until last year, when it became an independent company.
Frans van Dorsten, chairman at Pensioenfonds Chemours Nederland, said the departure of DuPont’s participants would leave his scheme with approximately 525 active participants, as well as almost all deferred members and pensioners, which total 1,135 and 1,860, respectively.
He said his pension fund would weigh its options for remaining independent in the coming years, but he emphasised that the need for change was not urgent.
In its 2015 annual report, the scheme’s internal visitation committee said that, “following the split-off of Chemours from DuPont, the increasing regulatory pressure and high costs of pensions provision, the viability of the pension fund requires monitoring”.
The pension fund reported administration costs of €742 per active participant and spent 0.3% on asset management last year.
As of the end of October, its funding stood at 115.3%.
The relocation to Belgium is still subject to approval by Dutch regulator DNB.