G4S blasts Garda over ‘misleading’ pension claims: Security firm insists its scheme is well-funded
Security firm G4S fought back against GardaWorld yesterday, blasting ‘misleading’ pension claims.
Garda, which has mounted a hostile bid for G4S, began talks with shareholders on Monday, arguing they should be ‘seriously concerned’ by the pension deficit and ‘mistakes’ that have driven the share price down.
Yesterday, G4S hit back saying the scheme, which has 24,000 members, 14,500 of whom are already drawing their pensions, was well-funded and that the trustees are happy with their plan to pay down the £276million deficit.
Garda World, which has mounted a hostile bid for G4S, began talks with shareholders on Monday, arguing they should be ‘seriously concerned’ by the pension deficit
Canadian company Garda has pointed to the scheme’s £2.7billion obligations, but G4S highlighted that the fund also has £2.4billion of assets.
Chief executive Ashley Almanza, who has run the company since 2013, said Garda had failed to publicly state an alternative plan.
He said: ‘It affects former employees who have served us for many years and we want them to be treated fairly.’
G4S, which is vigorously fighting the bid, said Garda had made £524million of losses in the last three years, and is not big enough to be a truly global player.
The 190p-per-share bid offer, worth just under £3billion, ‘significantly undervalues’ it and its prospects, and Garda’s offer is ‘opportunistic and clearly inadequate’, it said.
Almanza also took issue with Garda World’s claim that G4S faces ‘potentially crippling unresolved lawsuits’.
‘The statements are misleading,’ he said. ‘There’s no doubt in my mind these statements are designed to serve their interests rather than the interests of shareholders. Why would they want to buy a bad company?’
The G4S pension trustees confirmed they were in dialogue with Garda to understand its proposals.
Almanza inherited a litany of problems. G4S has been at the heart of several controversies. In July it paid £44million to settle allegations it charged the Government to monitor dead offenders in contracts dating back to 2005.
The current leaders says its woes are historic and a £300million prison contract, announced this week, showed that it has regained trust with the Government.