UK - UK banking giant Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBoS) says it has contributed £1.15bn to its £5.7bn pension scheme since 2005, making this the second-largest UK employer contribution last year.

"HBoS is well on track to eliminate its final salary pension deficit," the bank said in a statement, adding: "The deficit has been reduced by over two-thirds, on an IAS basis, to £543m (pre-tax)."

The company said the deficit's decline is in part because of an additional £800m contribution over the last two years, added to "business as usual contributions to the pension fund of £350" during the period.

According to a study by Lane Clark & Peacock, only BAE Systems made a larger contribution last year, putting £1.097bn into its funds.

Moreover, positive stock market movements had helped to reduce the deficit as the fund invests more than two-thirds of its assets in equities.

The company wants to add around £50m per annum to the ongoing contributions it pays to the fund.

This latest news follows an announcement by HBoS in 2005 declaring it had set itself the target of eliminating the pension fund's deficit within 10 years.