Carillion: Trustee chair quizzed over pension contribution deferrals

first_imgRobin Ellison appearing before MPs yesterdayThis episode occurred during Carillion’s final days as a going concern. Ellison said that even then the trustees were led to believe by Carillion executives that if immediate cash could be raised, the business would survive long enough to be restructured.Contribution schedule questionedBut MPs questioned why the trustees had ever allowed the sponsor to pause contributions in August last year, given the scheme was still in deficit. They referred to a 2012 report by one of the trustees’ advisers, Gazelle, recommending that they demand more from the sponsor, including influence over new securities issued by Carillion.Gazelle said at the time: “Carillion has historically prioritised other demands on capital ahead of deficit reduction in order to grow earnings and support the share price.”Ellison emphasised that the trustees had pursued means of greater security “with inadequate results”. He added that the board had asked for more contributions after nearly every valuation. “We did not just roll over and get our tummies tickled when the company paused contributions.”Robin Ellison“You will see [from correspondence] that negotiations went on in a pretty tough fashion: for the first two valuations we didn’t come to formal agreement and we had to take what the company would pay,” Ellison explained. “The powers of pension fund trustees are limited – we can’t enforce a demand for money.”The trustee chair also emphasised that “there wasn’t much in the company that could be pledged” as security against the deferred contributions.“We did not just roll over and get our tummies tickled when the company paused contributions,” Ellison said. “There were heavy interest payments for the delay and the promise of a bullet repayment seven months later.”Asked whether he’d thought about resigning, Ellison replied that resigning would not have solved anything.TPR – which will appear before the committee at a later date – can compel greater contributions. When pressed by Frank Field MP, co-chair of the committee, Ellison said he had not asked the regulator to make this specific demand, instead asking the regulator to use its judgement as to the best course of action. TPR will have to explain why it sat in on board meetings of the Carillion trustees for years without taking further action against the sponsor.MPs pointed to the £376m paid to shareholders in dividends by Carillion between 2012 and 2016. When asked why the money didn’t go to the pension fund, Ellison pointed out that The Pensions Regulator generally accepted pension contributions worth 16%-18% of dividends. In Carillion’s case, pension contributions had been in the order of 60% of dividends.Carillion’s annual report for 2016 detailed that it had paid £393.7m to shareholders since 2012, while making deficit contributions to the DB schemes of £209.4m in total. Since last year, TPR has increased its emphasis on companies striking a balance between dividend payments and pension scheme deficit reduction payments.Members of the Work and Pensions Select Committee and the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee are conducting a joint inquiry into the collapse of Carillion.A number of the engineering conglomerate’s DB pension funds are now being assessed for entry into the Pension Protection Fund.Robin Ellison spoke to IPE in March 2017 about the Carillion schemes’ investment strategy. He added that The Pensions Regulator (TPR) had also stood up to potential creditors of the company who had demanded all loans go into the business rather than the pension fund. The chairman of Carillion Pension Trustees has rebutted claims by politicians that the trustee board let the failed contractor “wriggle out” of pension contributions.Carillion went into compulsory liquidation on 15 January with a pensions deficit in excess of £800m (€910m) but just £29m in cash.Robin Ellison, chair of the trustees, yesterday told a parliamentary committee investigating Carillion’s collapse that the trustee board had pushed the construction and engineering contractor as hard as it could.“We did our best with the information at our disposal,” he said, adding that it was a balancing act between getting as much money for the pension scheme as possible without driving the sponsor out of business. “I don’t think there is anything more we could have done to pursue higher contributions.”last_img read more

Fire destroys Sophia home

first_imgA family of four is now counting their losses after an afternoon fire destroyed the front building of a Lot 5 BlockThe gutted Lot 5 Block R North Sophia homeR North Sophia, Greater Georgetown property.The fire began at about 18:15h. It is suspected to have originated in the bottom flat of the building and quickly caught onto a mattress before reaching a wooded beam and engulfing the rest of the house. At the time of the fire, no one was at home.Mahadeo Mansaram, who lives next door, related that his daughter was the one who noticed the smoke emanating from the building and raised an alarm.He explained that he, along with neighbours formed a bucket brigade and contained the fire until the Guyana Fire Service arrived on the scene.A speedy response by the Fire Service ensured that the blaze was contained to one building and minor scorches to the neighbouring properties, despite having limited water in the truck.One of the occupants of the building, Daniel Beckles related to Guyana Times that the property is uninsured and had it recently valued at $17 million.Up to press time, the origins of the fire remains unknown as Fire Service officials are still investigating the incident.last_img read more

25 extra places announced for Donegal Rural Social Scheme

first_imgGovernment Chief Whip and Minister of State for Gaeilge, Gaeltacht and the Islands Joe McHugh TD, announced that 25 extra places will be allocated on the Rural Social Scheme in County Donegal.The new places will provide support to more low-income farmers and fishermen, enabling them to carry out valuable community-based work and thereby helping to deliver on a Programme for Government commitment to rural Ireland.Minister McHugh said: “At the outset, I would first like to reiterate my support, and that of the Government, for the Rural Social Scheme. “In recognition of the valuable work undertaken in rural communities under the RSS, I am very pleased to announce that an additional 25 places will be made available in Donegal under the Scheme.“It will be delivered at local level here by both Donegal Local Development Co. Ltd and Údarás na Gaeltachta.“This is part of a national allocation of 250 extra places as announced by my Fine Gael Colleague, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty.“Overall this represents an increase of over 28% in the places available under the RSS in the past two years – from 2,600 to 3,350. “Since the RSS was launched in 2004, it has delivered a range of positive benefits for both participants and their local communities.“The RSS has become a key aspect of community action in many rural areas and is popular with both participants and local sponsors as well as community groups here in Donegal.“While communities benefit from the skills and talents of local farmers and fishermen, participants also have the opportunity to improve existing skills, or develop new skills, while performing valuable work in here in our local communities.”The Minister added: “The RSS has established itself at the centre of rural life here in our county. Significantly, it also supports participants to remain involved in farming or fishing in their local areas. It shows the Government’s ongoing commitment to supporting and sustaining rural Ireland.”The work carried out under the Scheme helps to support countless sports clubs, community services and rural facilities. It is also an important source of extra income to farmers and fishermen who may be working in agriculture or fishing on a part-time basis and who have a low income. It also gives them an opportunity to develop new skills. Participants provide 19.5 hours a week on a local rural or community project in a return for a top-up on their social welfare payments.The Scheme is especially important in the west, north-west and south of Ireland where there are a higher representation of farm assist recipients.Participants work locally on projects such as caretaking at community and sporting facilities; energy conservation work for the elderly and the less well off; Village and countryside enhancement projects; Social care and care of the elderly such as meals on wheels; Community care for pre-school and after-school groups; Environmental maintenance work such as Tidy Towns project and helping non-profit cultural and heritage centres.25 extra places announced for Donegal Rural Social Scheme was last modified: March 23rd, 2018 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalrural social schemelast_img read more

The 5 Takeaways from the Coyotes introduction of

center_img The Arizona Cardinals bolstered their offensive line Wednesday with the signing of guard Evan Mathis.The deal, which NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported is for one year and $6 million, fills a hole the team had at right guard.It was reported Tuesday the Cardinals had offered the 34-year-old a two-year contract.Mathis spent last season with the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, for whom he started 12 games at left guard. Before that, he played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and Carolina Panthers. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img