Marks and Spencer Group plc (“The Company”) today announces that it has reached agreement with the Company’s Pension Scheme Trustees on the terms of the triennial actuarial valuation as at 31 March 2012.
The valuation of the Company’s UK defined benefit pension scheme (“Pension Scheme”) at 31 March 2012 has resulted in a deficit of £290m. This represents a substantial reduction in deficit from £1.3bn as at 31 March 2009.
The improvement reflects the additional contributions made to the Pension Scheme following the 2009 valuation together with strong investment growth and sound risk management. The valuation is based on the same methodology adopted for the 2009 valuation but incorporates the latest asset values and revised assumptions in relation to longevity.
The Company and the Trustees have agreed a 10 year funding plan, which includes annual cash contributions of £28m per annum from 2013/14 to 2016/17, a reduction on the previously agreed £60m per annum until 2017/18. The remaining balance is expected to be met by investment returns on the scheme’s existing assets. These contributions are in addition to the payments under the existing pension property partnership.
Statements made in this announcement that look forward in time or that express management’s beliefs, expectations or estimates regarding future occurrences and prospects are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements reflect Marks & Spencer’s current expectations concerning future events and actual results may differ materially from current expectations or historical results. Any such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including failure by Marks & Spencer to predict accurately customer preferences; decline in the demand for products offered by Marks & Spencer; competitive influences; changes in levels of store traffic or consumer spending habits; effectiveness of Marks & Spencer’s brand awareness and marketing programmes; general economic conditions or a downturn in the retail or financial services industries; acts of war or terrorism worldwide; work stoppages, slowdowns or strikes; and changes in financial and equity markets.