SWITZERLAND - The Swiss government has commissioned a study into how much it might have to pay into the underfunded pension scheme of the federal railways SBB.

According to the scenarios currently being studied by government departments, the federal financial aid required could be as much as CHF2.9bn (€1.7bn) - or indeed no money might be granted at all.

The SBB asked the government for financial aid last December to help increase the 86.5% funding ratio but the company then boosted the ratio by injecting CHF1.5bn.

In addition, the scheme was changed from DB to DC to cope with the deficit earlier this year.

But with an insufficient buffer to cope with economic downturns, the fund is still at risk of sinking under its current 94.56% funding level.

Challenging the situation, Swiss justice minister Christoph Blocher has asked the departments to check what would happen should the government refuse to make any payments.

Study results will be handed over to the government at the end of this year.