Sainsbury’s pension trustees have entered into formal talks with Delta Two, the Qatari-backed investment vehicle

Delta Two, the Qatari-backed investment vehicle, has entered into formal talks with Sainsbury’s pension fund trustees and its advisers Penfida Partners.

Today, Delta Two confirmed that both sides have signed confidentiality agreements and plan to exchange information. Paul Taylor, Principal of Three Delta and Strategic Investment Adviser to Delta Two, said: “Delta Two recognises the importance of ensuring that the Sainsbury’s pension schemes are appropriately funded and intends to work constructively with the Trustees to reach a timely agreement on the appropriate level of funding for the schemes. We are pleased that detailed discussions can now commence, following the signing of a confidentiality undertaking.”

The pension trustees are widely seen as a potential major stumbling block to Delta Two succeeding with its proposed 600p-a-share offer for Sainsbury’s. It has been reported that Delta Two could be forced to inject at least£1 billion into the pension scheme to win over the trustees. However, it is thought that Sainsbury’s and Delta Two have not yet agreed how much money will be put into the scheme. Last week, Sainsbury’s board recommended to open its books to Delta Two for due diligence. Separately, the Office of Fair Trading has invited rival supermarkets to comment on Tesco’s planned acquisition of five Somerfield stores.