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Trinity Mirror forfeits £108m to reduce pension deficit

LONDON - Trinity Mirror plans to shell out £108m to reduce its pension scheme deficit and to return £175m to shareholders through a share buy-back programme, using proceeds gained from disposals made earlier this year.

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Trinity has been in negotiations with the Pensions Regulator, which approved the company's decision to reduce its pension deficit from £154m to £46m.

The publisher of The Daily Mirror said it remains committed to funding the remaining deficits "over time".

The move clears a major obstacle to any demerger or sale of the company in the future.

The pension top-up and £175m share buy-back programme will be funded by the £263m earned when Trinity sold its sports division. This included its racing newspaper The Racing Post, and its regional South Eastern titles, earlier this year.

The share buy-back will start immediately and continue through the close period.

The company said in a statement that the buy-back programme reflected the board's confidence in the company's ongoing cash flow.

Trinity said: "The group's strong balance sheet after this return of capital will provide continuing financial flexibility for investment to create shareholder value going forward."

Last week, Trinity reported a 2.1% year-on-year increase in group advertising revenues for the five months to November 30 and predicted its 2007 performance to be in line with expectations.

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