NETHERLANDS - Algemeen Pensioenfonds Wegener (APW), the pension fund for employees and former workers of the Koninklijke Wegener publishing house, has signed an agreement to merge its members into the larger PGB pension fund for the graphics industry.

A statement issued today by all three parties - Wegener, APW and PGB - said a declaration of intent has been signed to transfer the assets, the pension rights and pensons from the APW company pension fund into the industry-wide pension fund, which has €8.5bn in assets.

The transaction is expected to be completed by 1 January 2010, so APW's 12,000 members should expect to see more competitive terms to their pensions in the long run, according to Ruud Degenhardt, chairman of the board at PGB.

The APW scheme suffered significant losses on the back of last year's financial crisis and was required to submit a recovery plan to pensions regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) , as its cover ratio was at 93% in September 2008. (See earlier IPE story: APW expands inflation bonds margin)

It had €750m in assets at the end of 2007 and its administration is currently handled by TKP Pensioen, the third-party administration arm of Aegon.

The industry-wide pension fund for the graphics industry looks after the pension plans of 43,000 members at over 2,650 employers, and has outsourced its administration to Grafische Bedrijfsfondsen (GBF).

The deal PGB/APW deal is now subject to approvals to the appropriate authorities, including DNB.

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