Asda owner Walmart is said to have secured a deal to offload £4bn of the UK supermarket’s pension liabilities as it looks to clear the path for a potential stock market listing.
Walmart and Asda’s pension trustees have agreed a £3.8bn buy-in with specialist insurance firm Rothesay Life, Sky News reported.
Under the mooted deal – one of the largest ever agreed with a British company – Rothesay will be responsible for paying retirement benefits to roughly 12,000 members of the Asda Group Pension Scheme.
The move could prove to be a key step forward as the firm tidies up its balance sheet ahead of a potential initial public offering.
Asda boss Roger Burnley has said he is “minded” to pursue a float as the supermarket chain attempts to split from its US parent company following a failed merger with Sainsbury’s.
A source said Asda was likely to make a one-off payment into the scheme of just under £1bn, while a full buyout was a longer-term objective, according to the report.
The buy-in, which could be announced as soon as this evening, is the latest high-profile deal signed by Rothesay.
The London-based insurance company has secured similar deals with National Grid, Telent and Allied Domecq in the last month.
Rothesay declined to comment. Asda has been contacted for comment.
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