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Pensions crisis at Murray International Holdings

Former Rangers owner Sir David Murray. Picture: Neil Hanna

Former Rangers owner Sir David Murray. Picture: Neil Hanna

STAFF at former Rangers owner Sir David Murray’s company Murray International Holdings (MIH) face an uncertain financial future after the firm revealed it would not make some contributions to its pension fund.

The beleaguered metals and property company is facing a £22.5 million black hole in its pension fund and has apparently run out of assets to sell. MIH is currently negotiating lowering the amount it pays to hundreds of retirees and has admitted in its latest accounts that financing the pension fund “cast significant doubt upon the company’s ability to continue as a going concern”.

Staff now face an uncertain financial future as the company pulled the plug on some contributions towards the huge deficit last year.

A finance expert said: “It is impossible to say just how bad things are without knowing what percentage of the total pension pot the £22.5 million represents. But many fear the worst.”

According to April accounts, the company’s debt stood at £346.7 million at the end of its latest financial year.

A letter was sent to staff from the pension plan’s trustee Stephen Foster regarding additional payments towards the pension deficit that the company stopped making last year, which states: “Approaches to the firm for the deficit to be paid in full have been unsuccessful.”

Foster said that a deal allowing MIH to make lower contributions and therefore a “reduced entitlement from the plan” for workers could deliver better pensions than staff would get from the government’s Pension Protection Fund “lifeboat” scheme for companies facing insolvency.

However, the letter cautions that “with so few assets disposals remaining, the company will not be able to make a substantial contribution”.

An MIH staff member said: “This letter is devastating. We don’t know how this pensions black hole is going to be filled. There are a lot of angry people here.”

 

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