THE new buyers of Bradford supermarket chain Morrisons have reached an agreement with the company’s pension schemes to protect the cash pots ahead of the £7 billion takeover.

Private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice reached an agreement to takeover Morrisons at the end of August, trumping a rival bid by Fortress Investment Group.

Now, CD&R has said it has reached an agreement with the Trustees of the Morrisons Retirement Saver Plan and the Safeway Pension Scheme “on the terms of a comprehensive mitigation package to provide additional security and covenant support to the schemes”.

In a statement it said it “recognises the responsibility of the ownership of Morrisons” and the “constructive and efficient agreement” with Trustees “reinforces it will be a good partner to the Trustees and the Schemes' members as well as all Morrisons' stakeholders including management, employees, customers and suppliers”.

The agreement reached on pensions covers additional security for the existing pension funding structure in the form of further properties, appropriate mechanisms to protect the schemes on their journey towards “buy out”, and more information sharing on governance of the pension pots.

The full details of the agreements are set to be published later this month (September 25) and said the schemes will be “some of the best funded and best supported in the UK”.

Steve Southern, chair of the Trustees of the Morrisons Retirement Saver Plan and the Safeway Pension Scheme, said: "We are pleased with the progress made and CD&R's ability to provide the necessary support and reassurance to the schemes.

“CD&R has been proactive in its engagement with the Trustees, with discussions progressing positively and decisively, delivering a positive outcome for all members of Morrisons' pension schemes."

Sir Terry Leahy, Senior Adviser to CD&R funds, added: “We are delighted to have reached agreement with the Trustees, providing additional security and covenant support to the schemes.

“We thank the Trustees for their constructive engagement, and the positive outcome underscores CD&R's approach as a responsible investor and emphasises the respectful approach CD&R would take to its wider stakeholder responsibilities and commitments."

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