Newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror has defended a £10m share buyback amid criticism over its £426m pension shortfall.
Frank Field, chair of the influential work and pensions select committee, has called on the Pensions Regulator to block the buyback, while the move has also been criticised by former Tory pensions minister Baroness Altmann.
Field told the Times: “Here is an obvious case for the Pensions Regulator to act when the company is worth less than the deficit and yet is embarking on a £10m share buyback. Any spare money should be going towards reducing that deficit.”
Trinity Mirror hit back, saying it had “paid significantly more to bridge the pensions deficit than we have to our shareholders in dividends” in recent years.
Last year, for instance, the Daily Mirror publisher paid £41m to cut its pension deficit and £16m to shareholders.
The company spokesman said: “We fully consulted the pension fund trustees and the regulator was notified of the buyback.
“We remain committed to addressing our pension scheme deficits and believe we strike the right balance between payments to the pension schemes and returns to shareholders whilst maintaining headroom for investment.”