UK roundup: US Bankruptcy Court, Kodak, Comet, Darty
UK – A US court has approved a reorganisation of bankrupt Kodak, allowing its UK pension plan to assume ownership of part of the business.
The Southern District of New York’s Bankruptcy Court yesterday approved a $650m (€497m) settlement to the Kodak Pension Plan’s (KPP) $2.8bn claim, with trustee chairman Steven Ross saying he was “delighted” by the decision.
As part of the settlement, KPP will assume ownership of the Personalised Imaging and Document Imaging businesses.
Kodak chief executive and chairman Antonio Perez said the company looked forward to completing its reorganisation now the sale had been approved.
Ross, meanwhile, echoed previous statements that the settlement was “by far the best option available” to the scheme.
“The income that these two businesses generate will enable KPP to remain outside of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) and offer our members a new pension plan that will provide all of them with better benefits than they would have received in the PPF,” he added.
In other news, the defined benefit (DB) scheme for electronics retailer Comet has seen its deficit rise marginally despite nearly £14m (€16m) in payments from its sponsor.
The €409m Comet Pension Scheme saw assets increase by €53m over the course of the 12 months to April, but saw liabilities increase by almost the same amount to €449.5m – resulting in a €40.4m deficit.
The fund, closed to new entrants in 2004 and three years later to future accrual, saw ties with its employer severed last year when owner Darty sold the retailer.
The French company has since taken on responsibility for the fund, agreeing to increased deficit recovery payments of £10m to fully fund the scheme by 2015, three years earlier than initially agreed with the Pensions Regulator.
It said that, as a result of the revised payment schedule, £13.65m had been paid to the fund in 2012-13, falling to £10m for the current financial year.
Darty added that it would likely further revise its payment timetable once the fund’s actuarial valuation had been completed later this tear.