May 26, 2017 / 10:11 PM / 2 months ago

BT talking to pensioners about caps on benefits -Telegraph

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LONDON, May 26 (Reuters) - Britain's biggest telecoms group BT Group Plc has begun informal talks with representatives of its retired staff about a plan to cap their pensions and ease one of the biggest challenges facing the company, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Friday.

BT is asking the fund's trustees and telecoms unions to agree to end accruals in the company's defined-benefits pension scheme, a move some other British blue-chip firms have already taken, the newspaper said.

The change could trigger a hefty one-off charge but would help BT make investments needed for growth, it said.

BT's pension deficit was valued at 9.2 billion pounds ($11.8 billion) net of tax at the end of 2016.

A BT spokesman said the company was considering a number of options for the pension fund deficit but declined to comment further.

BT said in an annual report, published on Thursday, that one alternative to only cash payments could involve giving the pension fund a prior claim over some assets.

$1 = 0.7816 pounds Reporting by William Schomberg and Paul Sandle; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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