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T&N crisis talks at “stalemate” (Update)

UK – Alexander Forbes, scheme trustee at the crisis-hit Turner & Newall Pension Scheme, says talks over the future of the scheme have hit an impasse.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, the largest bondholder in Turner & Newall’s parent Federal-Mogul, had said he is confident that a winding-up of the scheme can be avoided.

But a spokesman for Alexander Forbes Trustee Services said there was no new cash on the table and that talks were now at a “stalemate”.

"We presented a proposal that we believe will save jobs of Federal-Mogul's UK workforce and avoid a wind-up of the Pension Scheme," Icahn said after a meeting in New York yesterday.

The T&N scheme is around 900 million pounds (1.3 billion euros) in deficit and the crisis has received wide publicity in the UK. The meeting - hosted in New York by car parts maker Federal-Mogul – was attended by T&N unions, creditors, administrators and scheme trustee, Federal-Mogul said in a statement.

It said: “The company believes that much progress was made toward airing the open issues and, with the assistance of Mr. Icahn, attempting to find solutions that would be satisfactory to all parties.”

According to press reports Icahn, 68, has offered to buy the UK T&N assets for 700 million dollars, of which 130 million dollars would go toward funding the pension scheme.

Reuters quoted Icahn as saying in an interview that he is facing resistance from people who would like to see it go into liquidation.

It quoted him adding: "There would be no necessity to terminate the pension plan under our offer, which in my opinion is more than anyone else would pay for the assets."

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