UK – Plans to merge the gas and telecoms infrastructure company, Lattice Group with the electricity transmission group, National Grid Group, could lead to the creation a of merged pension plan with assets of £13bn (€20bn).

However, a spokesman for Lattice said that the integration process stemming from the proposed merger is still in its early stages and any decision relating to the future of the two groups' pension schemes will take into account a wide range of considerations. But pensions aren't yet part of the agneda.

"The official line is that there should be no presumption that the two schemes will be merged," the spokesman comments.

The Lattice pension scheme, which recently closed its defined benefit plan to new entrants, had assets worth some £11.9bn last July, after the demerger from BG. The scheme has15,400 active members, 29,500 deferred and 76,000 pensioners. Its assets were equal to 104% of beenfits accrued as at March 2001.

The majority of the National Grid group’s employees are in the £22bn Electricity Supply Pension Scheme. The market value of the assets attributed to the National Grid’s scheme was £1.3bn as at 31 March last year, when there were 3,664 active members and 6,385 pensioners. Assets at that point were 118% of accrued liabilities.