A&O, Eversheds, Lovells in on Cable & Wireless pension brief

Allen & Overy (A&O), Eversheds and Lovells are advising on the pension issues thrown up by the recent demerger of Cable & Wireless Worldwide from the Cable & Wireless Group.

Jeremy Goodwin
Jeremy Goodwin

Eversheds partners Harold Lewis and Jeremy Goodwin are acting for the trustees of the Cable & Wireless Worldwide Retirement Plan, which will have half the total pension assets following the equal split of the £2.4bn scheme.

The original scheme’s deficit, which was reportedly £309m at 30 September 2009, will be split on a ­proportionate basis between the two businesses. Eversheds is advising the trustees of BA’s £13bn ­pension fund on all ongoing matters, together with the trustees of the £1.5bn ­Vauxhall Motors pension scheme. It picked up the client following a tender in which it fought off ­competition from Sacker & Partners and Wragge & Co in the final round of a three-stage process.

The Eversheds team advised on the set-up of the new Cable & Wireless Worldwide Retirement Plan and negotiated the terms of the transfer from the Cable & Wireless ­Communications pension scheme. It will continue to advise the pension scheme trustees.

Goodwin, who worked with senior associate Hugh Gittins and associate Paul Rose, said: “Apart from being a very large scheme, one of the most high-profile bits related to the fact that it had a £1bn buy-in policy with The Prudential. The insurance company annuity was held in the trustees names.”

Additional insurance advice was provided by Eversheds partner Michael Wainwright.

Meanwhile, Lovells is ­acting for the trustees of the Cable & Wireless Communications Superannuation Fund. The team is led by pensions partners Claire Southern and Stephen Ito.

Cable & Wireless demerged recently to ­create two separate companies, Cable & Wireless Worldwide – the UK-focused business arm – and Cable & Wireless Communications - a consumer brand ­operating in 38 countries.

A&O pensions partner Dana Burstow and associate Andy Cook advised Cable & Wireless Group.