Sackers advises Crown Holdings on £2.2bn buy-out

The Metal Box Pension Scheme has agreed a £2.2bn buy-in to buy-out transaction with Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC) after slashing its journey plan by nearly 20 years.

Sackers is delighted to have advised the sponsor of the scheme, Crown Holdings on this £2.2bn buy-out transaction, the biggest bulk annuity deal of 2021 so far. The transaction insures 12,500 pensioner and deferred members of the Metal Box Pensions Scheme with PIC.

This transaction represents the culmination of a long period of planning and structuring to get the deal over the line. It included a number of innovative solutions to issues that can otherwise bog-down a large scheme buy-out, including GMP equalisation/conversion, residual risks cover and a funding structure between the company and pension scheme to manage the realisation of a portfolio of illiquid investments.

Stuart O’Brien partner says: “The way the deal has been structured enables the scheme to move from buy-in to full buy-out within a month of transacting, setting a new template for full scheme buy-out transactions. It’s been a testament to the hard work from Sackers team members James Geer and Liam Goulding, Mercer leading the transaction for Crown and with Mayer Brown and Willis Towers Watson advising the Trustees. PIC were advised by Herbert Smith and due diligence on the residual risk transfer was carried out by DLA. It has been a great team effort all round but most of all it’s a fantastic result for the members of the pension scheme, securing their pensions in full.”