German roundup: Arcandor, Valovis, Baden-Württemberg state pension fund
GERMANY - The pension fund of insolvent retailer Arcandor has managed to move the struggling Valovis Bank off its books, but no buyer as yet been found, it said.
The German insolvency scheme (PSV) took over the Contractual Trust Agreement (CTA) - named after the former company name KarstadtQuelle Mitarbeitertrust - in 2009. The move was controversial at the time, as it effectively quadrupled the levies companies must pay into the scheme.
The CTA was estimated to have more than €3bn in liabilities and around €1bn less in assets, with Valovis Bank accounting for approximately €250m of that, according to 2009 estimates.
The bank confirmed that the KarstadtQuelle Mitarbeitertrust had now sold its 100% stake in the bank and that the shares were currently being held by the Resba Beteiligungsgesellschaft, a subsidiary of the Einlagensicherungsfonds, the deposit protection fund of the German private banking association.
In a statement, Valovis said the shares had been transferred in order to find a new buyer for the bank.
Financial terms have not been disclosed, but analysts estimate that the value had fallen considerably, as the bank has reported negative results in recent years.
In other news, the consumer protection association in the province of Baden-Württemberg has called on the government to stop trying to "patch up" third-pillar systems such as the state-subsidised Riester-Rente and establish a state pension fund instead.
"The funded pension system that currently exists in Germany does not work," it said in a statement.
The association recommended complementing the first-pillar pay-as-you-go system with a "highly efficient funded scheme", into which third-pillar schemes such as the Riester or Rürup Rente would be integrated.
As examples, it cited Norway's Government Pension Fund Global and Sweden's AP1 buffer fund.