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FTSE pensions debt tops £55bn
By Ian Cowie, Daily Telegraph
August 6, 2003
companies' pension scheme liabilities exceed their assets by more than £55
billion, according to an analysis of their accounts under the tough new
Clark & Peacock said the FTSE 100 index would have to rise to more
than 6,000 by this time next year to clear the pension fund deficits of
the companies whose shares comprise that index.
taxation, falling share prices and rising bond prices have hit pension
funds hard, particularly final salary or defined benefit schemes.
Of the 90
companies in the FTSE 100 with final salary funds, only 13 showed a
surplus of assets over liabilities last year. Of these, 11 have reported
this year, but only one - Boots - still enjoys a surplus. Boots' pension
scheme switched entirely out of shares and into bonds while the FTSE 100
index stood above 6,000 more than two years ago.
At the other
extreme, the actuaries name seven companies which they claim are
"looking exposed to volatile movements in equities once FRS17 pension
accounting rules are adopted".
They are BAE
Systems, British Airways, BT, ICI, Invensys, Rolls-Royce, and Royal &
SunAlliance. The actuaries calculate that Rolls-Royce's pension fund
shareholdings are worth 50pc more than Rolls-Royce's market capitalisation.
of Lane Clark & Peacock, said: "Without substantial injections of
contributions, FTSE 100 companies need a rally in equity markets to reduce
their pension deficits."