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February 3, 2016

Johnston Press lowers estimate of pension fund deficit by £50m

By Dominic Ponsford

Johnston Press expects to revise down the estimate of its pensions deficit by some £53m to £37m.

The board announced the saving in a statement this morning, which followed a study into the fund's liabilities.

The scheme deficit, it said, was £90m just over a year ago, on 3 January 2015.

It has also revealed a change in the scheme rules to enable the company to "participate" in any surplus when the scheme closes.

As a result of this, the company said, an additional liability of £3m at 3 January 2016 will now not be required, meaning a total £53m reduction of the deficit.

It has also revealed a change in the scheme rules to enable the company to "participate" in any surplus when the scheme closes.

The statement said: "The board is pleased to advise that the findings of the study are expected to reduce the present value of the scheme’s deficit by some £50m at 2 January 2016 under IAS 19.

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"In addition, following a change to the scheme rules agreed by the scheme trustees, the group will now be entitled to participate in any surplus when the scheme closes. As a result, the application of IFRIC 14, which resulted in an additional liability of £3m at 3 January 2015, will not be required.

"The scheme deficit at 3 January 2015 was £90m. These adjustments, taken together, reduce the scheme deficit by some £53m."

Last month, Press Gazette reported on an investor document emphasising Johnston Press's ability to cut costs in the future.

Further details are expected when the company's full-year results are announced on 22 March.

Picture: Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield


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