Uniq has insisted that handing over 90% ownership of the company to its pension fund was the “best option” to tackle its GBP436m (US$640.7m) pension deficit.

The company, which was burdened by a huge pension deficit legacy from when it traded as Unigate, revealed that its shareholders have approved a plan to issue new shares to the value of 90% of the company. This, alongside a one-off payment of GBP14m to the pension trustees, will see Uniq clear its outstanding pension deficit.

A spokesperson for the dessert maker told just-food today (28 February) that the agreement represented the “best option” to benefit all the main stakeholders – the pension trustees, the company and its shareholders. While existing shares will now only account for under 10% of total share equity under the scheme, the spokesperson said the deal enabled shareholders to “retain some value”.

“Effectively, the company as Uniq now has a future. Had this not been agreed, the alternative was almost certainly liquidation. Given the alternative was no value, it is the best option for everyone because it provides a way forward and a viable platorm for growth,” the spokesperson commented.

Uniq will now focus its energies on driving revenue and profit growth in the UK, the spokesperson added.