UK - Paternoster, the British pension buyout firm set up by former Prudential chief Mark Wood, is set to announce the acquisition of the £150m (€208m) pension plan Eni Lasmo, the UK oil exploration arm of Italy's Eni SpA.

A spokesman for the buyout firm declined to comment on this morning's news, though IPE understands Paternoster has won an electronic auction for the pension buyout in October.

The auction is thought to have to been hosted by consultancy firm Mercer, and the UK defined benefit scheme of Lasmo, which was taken over by Eni in 2000, is reported to exceed £150m, making the scheme fully-funded.

This is anticipated to be the first of a flurry of wider buyout deals expected before Christmas, a source told IPE today.

"A lot of companies are trying to close deals, and get the pension scheme off the books before Christmas," IPE heard.

Paternoster has already won the right to manage several buyout plans, including the scheme of a UK subsidiary of Italian car maker Fiat last year.

Most recently, Paternoster announced major British media conglomerate Emap had transferred its two largest defined benefit schemes, worth £170m to the buyout insurer.

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