Archant, one of Britain’s oldest newspaper publishers, is turning to the pension’s lifeboat in a rescue deal which will involve steep cuts for creditors. This will underline the harsh realities being faced by regional media groups among COVID-19.
Rcapital has struck a deal with the publisher to invest in the business if a company voluntary arrangement is approved. This CVA would affect creditors.
The deal also involves Archants’ pension and life assurance scheme entering a pension protection fund (PPF) assessment period. This will occur once its holding company, Archant Limited, goes into an administration process of which KPMG will oversee. The use of a PPF assessment period would mean many pension scheme members will end up receiving fewer retirement benefits than they had hoped – with shortfalls reaching up to thousands a year. The PPF would hold a minority shareholding in the publishers’ operations so that if there is any future recovery in the business, it can benefit.
These restructuring arrangements replace the expected pre-pack administration route, meaning a direct impact on the workforce is not, as of yet, applicable.
The New European and the Eastern Daily Press are among the titles Archant own.