Tata sticks to initial offer on Corus schemes

GLOBAL - Tata Steel is sticking to its initial offer to inject £126m (€185m) into Corus UK's Engineering Steels Pension Scheme, Corus said.

Corus' new owner is prepared to fund the IAS19 deficit of the scheme upfront. Moreover, it will increase its contribution to the British Steel Pension Scheme from 10% to 12% of pensionable earnings until 31 March 2009, it added.

According to Corus, the trustees of both schemes have in the meantime agreed to Tata's offer. However, the schemes could not be contacted for comment.

Initially, a Tata spokeswoman was adamant that the company's revised offer - after a counter bid from Brazilian rival Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional - required new discussions with the pension funds' trustees.

Stichting Pensioenfonds Hoogovens, the €5.1bn scheme of Corus Netherlands, will not be affected by the new ownership, a Dutch union official stressed.

"Corus Netherlands is subject to Dutch legislation, which makes Tata bound to keep on paying Corus' liabilities to its pension fund," Jos Duijnhoven, of union FNV Bondgenoten, told IPE.

Hoogovens's pension fund did not respond to IPE's request for comment.

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