Brodies’ pensions team advised the trustees of the John Menzies plc defined benefit pension scheme, the Menzies Pension Fund (Scheme), on the pensions aspects of the sale of Menzies Distribution Limited, to private equity firm Endless LLP for £74.5m. The sale – which completed on 5 September 2018 - was a strategic move by the Edinburgh-headquartered John Menzies Group to separate its aviation and print media distribution arms and focus exclusively on its fast-growing global aviation services business. Menzies’ exit from print media distribution and retail logistics signals the end of an era in the Scottish (and indeed UK) business arena and we were pleased to play our part in this significant transaction.   

As part of Menzies’ strategic approach, Section B of the Scheme, sponsored by Menzies Distribution Limited, which was sectionalised in May 2017, completed  an innovative £75 million buy-out with Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC), shortly before the sale to Endless was signed. The Scheme had  insufficient assets to immediately buy-out the benefits in full so the Trustees worked with PIC to structure a bespoke deal  which allows the Scheme to meet the cost of the buy-out through future fixed instalments. This locks down risk for the Scheme by removing exposure to uncertain future market pricing, provides the members with greater security and gives the Trustees certainty regarding the level of contributions required by the sponsor. We provided legal advice to the Trustees throughout this process and led the contractual negotiations with PIC.

Brodies’ team was led by Juliet Bayne, with support from Maureen Burns, Jordan Halliday and Jennifer Crawford