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Toshiba offloads UK scheme in £170m buyout deal

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Japanese technology giant Toshiba has offloaded its £170m (€193m) UK pension scheme to insurance company Rothesay Life.

The Toshiba Pension and Assurance Scheme is the latest in a long line of UK defined benefit (DB) schemes transferring to the insurance sector.

The deal covers 1,350 former staff members of Toshiba UK, the British arm of the Japanese multinational, who are based in Plymouth and Guildford.

Guy Freeman, co-head of business development at Rothesay Life, said: “The advantages of having a sole trustee in place to secure a bulk annuity were very apparent. Corporate appetite to remove pension risk continues to grow.”

In recent years, there have been a rash of DB schemes transferring their pension liabilities to insurers.

Last year, SSE, the energy company, shifted its £1.2bn scheme to Legal & General and Pension Insurance Corporation. Between 2014 and 2016, trustees of the ICI Pension Fund passed an estimated £8bn across to a number of insurers in a series of deals.

Building supplies group Kingfisher completed the biggest publicised derisking deal so far this year, insuring £200m in a buy-in with Pension Insurance Corporation.

Hymans Robertson, the consultancy firm, last year predicted that the bulk annuity market could see approximately £700bn of DB scheme assets and liabilities transferred to insurance companies by 2032.

At present, annual transaction volumes stand at between £10bn and £15bn – a figure the consultancy suggested in a recent report could rise to £50bn a year. The overall size of the defined benefit market is estimated to be worth £1.6trn.

Rival consultancy group LCP claimed in January that the UK derisking market was at its cheapest level since the financial crisis for those interested in buyouts and buy-ins.

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