UK – Chivas Brothers, a leading Scottish whisky producer, has paid £60m (€71m) into its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme and set up a funding arrangement secured against property.

According to accounts recently filed at Companies House, the Chivas Brothers Pension Scheme showed a FRS17 deficit of just under £20m on 30 June 2012 – the company’s year-end – compared with £3.7m the year before.

Besides the DB scheme, the company – which employs just over 1,500 people – runs a defined contribution scheme and an unfunded, unapproved retirement benefits scheme.

For each of the past two financial years ending on 30 June 2011 and 2012, the company has contributed around £12m to the DB arrangement.

However, it agreed at the end of February with scheme trustees to reduce the funding deficit and improve the scheme’s security.

Besides making the one-off payment, Chivas Brothers also entered into a new asset-backed funding structure secured on a number of company properties.

In addition to the £60.5m payment, the company said it expected to pay in a further £9.4m into the pension scheme over the financial year, making total contributions of £69.9m – nearly six times those of the two previous years.

As at 5 April 2009, the date of its most recent actuarial valuation, the scheme had assets with a market value of £161.4m. It said this was sufficient to cover 81% of the value of each member’s accrued benefits, based on projected salaries.

Chivas Brothers made pre-tax profits of £201.9m – a 28.1% increase over the previous year – on a turnover of £610.1m for the year to 30 June 2012, according to its accounts.