Belfast Telegraph

Troubled bed maker eyes rescue deal

By Holly Williams

Bed maker Silentnight is hoping to secure a rescue deal to save the company and around 1,250 jobs after running up a £100m hole in its pension fund.

The firm, which has a store in Mallusk, Co Antrim, has applied for a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) to help it avoid administration after its lender pulled the plug on its banking facilities.

The family-owned group, which was founded in 1946 and supplies around half a million beds a year to retailers, is hoping to safeguard the company's future by transferring its onerous pension fund into the hands of the Pension Protection Fund and asking creditors to accept less than they are owed.

Silentnight employs around 650 staff at its main site in Barnoldswick in east Lancashire but also has employees in Cumbria, West Yorkshire and Ireland.

No one was available for comment at any of its Irish stores yesterday.

It is facing a deficit in its pension fund of around £100m, which has mounted as a result of a series of acquisitions made during the 1980s and 1990s.

The final salary pension fund has around 1,500 members, but only 100 still work for the group.