Sir Philip Green, the former owner of BHS, wants regulators to force his successor to contribute towards plugging the black hole in the collapsed company’s pension fund, according to reports.
A payment by Dominic Chappell, who infamously bought the retailer from Green for £1, is one of the conditions of the billionaire Green making his own contribution, according to sources close to negotiations cited by the Guardian.
The news comes a week after City A.M. learned the investigation into the BHS failure has cost the Pensions Regulator (TPR) £1.4m.
BHS was put into administration in April, with the loss of 11,000 jobs. The high street stalwart – the first store opened in London in 1922 – failed to adapt to changing market conditions, and was loss-making by the time Green looked to sell it.
The eventual price of £1 was agreed in 2015 with Retail Acquisitions, run by Chappell. The pension fund deficit grew rapidly under Green and Chappell.
Administrators are set to recover £45.7m after the retailer collapsed – leaving a hole of at least £525m in the company’s pension fund.
Chappell was described by Labour MP Frank Field last week as a “dismally unqualified man” while calling for new measures to limit the potential for future pension deficits.
The pensions of 20,000 former BHS employees have been left under threat, with the deficit meaning it is unlikely to meet all of its liabilities in future. TPR has started legal action to recover as much as possible from Green and Chappell.
Green has already had one offer of £250m rejected by TPR, but it was rejected as being too small to make up the shortfall.