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PNO Media puts merger with PGB on ice

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  • Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The €4.1bn PNO Media pension fund has said it is not looking to increase ties with the €15bn printing industry scheme (PGB), at least for now.

Ton Tekstra, chairman of PNO Media, told IPE the board concluded there was no immediate need to make the big step as it wanted to remain independent for at least three to five years.

“Currently, there is neither need nor support for joining a large pension fund such as PGB as we are stable and have sufficient scale to continue under our own steam for the mid-term,” he said. 

Tekstra indicated PNO Media wanted to monitor developments in the media sector, as well as the ongoing consolidation process, including the possible effect on the pension fund.

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“Our sector is not only facing cuts in the public broadcasters, but there are also larger companies that are considering moving their pension plans,” he pointed out. “In addition, the gaming industry is growing rapidly, and does offer potential for the pension fund.”

Tekstra, however, did suggest the company would be open to cooperation with other pension funds, but ones of a smaller size than PGB.

“Currently, we are exchanging expertise with the Dutch pension funds of publishers Elsevier and Sanoma, as well as the scheme of newspaper De Telegraaf, aimed at a possible cooperation on areas such as investment,” he said.

According to Tekstra, PNO Media has already jointly invested in private equity with some other schemes, but did not provide additional details on the matter.

In a response, Ruud Degenhardt, chairman of PGB, said he regretted that the cooperation with PNO Media has been put on hold, but indicated that PGB’s door would stay open to the media fund.

“A merger would remain a good development from the perspective of all participants,” he commented.

Degenhardt reiterated PGB’s attempts at scaling with the inclusion and servicing of multiple industry branches, including rubber, paint and chemicals.

As a result, the number of participants in the fund rose to 100,000 from 83,000 in the past two years, as its assets increased by €3.5bn to €15bn.

Discussions between the two funds about a extending cooperation and a full merger had been ongoing up until last year.

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