The deficit for the ITN Pension Scheme, London, increased 22.5% to £98.5 million ($147.2 million) for the year ended Dec. 31, said sponsoring company Independent Television News Ltd.’s latest annual report.
The pension fund, which was frozen in March 2010, also recorded an increase in assets, by 3.5% to £323.3 million. The pension fund was replaced with a defined contribution plan, effective April 1, 2010.
In 2014, the company made a £3 million contribution to its pension fund, in line with a funding recovery plan based on the most recent triennial valuation. A spokeswoman for ITN said in an e-mail that the company is expected to make a maximum contribution as part of its recovery plan of £5.2 million this year. That figure excludes expenses and the Pension Protection Fund levy payment of about £1 million. “ITN’s 2015 budget and cash flow projection is on track to meet these payments,” the spokeswoman wrote.
As of Dec. 31, the pension fund had an asset allocation of 55% equities, up from 46% a year earlier; 38% bonds and gilts, down from 42%; and the remainder in “other,” the annual report said.
Operating profit “before exceptional items” grew by £800,000 to £5.8 million, “exceeding the annual level needed to meet the next 10 years of contributions to fund the pension deficit under the agreed recovery plan — a year earlier than expected,” said Andrew Garard, chairman at ITN, in the report.