The Studio Retail Group Plc (SRG), formerly known as Findel, has two principal trading divisions – the Studio online retail business which offers consumer credit, and Findel Education, an educational materials supplier to schools. The Group had previously disposed of non-core divisions and, as part of its strategic development, had been seeking to sell Findel Education. The Trustees of the Findel Group Pension Fund, are a key stakeholder in SRG, and hold joint security (with its debt funders) over the Plc and therefore asked FRP for support in understanding the impact of the sale on the scheme, and assistance in negotiating an appropriate settlement from SRG.
As ongoing covenant advisers to the Trustees, FRP’s Pensions Advisory team had a detailed understanding of the existing scheme, the Group, and their inter-relationship. The team were able to assess the transaction in terms of the impact on the security value held by the Trustees, and how the sale could affect the cashflows available to support the pension scheme in the future.
Following the FRP team’s advice and support in negotiations with SRG, the Trustees received a £9 million settlement; the pension scheme is now close to being fully funded, having had a buyout obligation of over £200 million 10 years ago. The options available to the Trustees to secure member benefits in full have significantly improved.
The total settlement achieved for the Pension Fund Trustees following FRP’s advice and support