Topshop boss Sir Philip Green has proposed offering the flagship store on London’s Oxford Street as security to his Arcadia group’s pension funds as he seeks to restructure his fashion empire.
The tycoon aims to turn around Arcadia through a CVA and to halve payments towards its pension deficit
However, The Sunday Times reported that a source close to The Pensions Regulator said the body has “pushed back hard” on Green’s attempts to lower contributions to £25m because of the controversy over the collapse of BHS, which he formerly owned.
Arcadia’s pension scheme is understood to have a deficit of £550m on a conventional funding basis, rising to £750m on a full-buyout basis.
Green has proposed giving the funds security over the Oxford Street branch, the lease of which is thought to be worth as much as £600m.
The idea has been floated as Arcadia prepares for a wider overhaul amid tough trading conditions for fashion retailers and controversies which have engulfed Green.
New board members have joined Arcadia parent Taveta Investments’ board who bring experience of restructuring.
Jamie Drummond-Smith, chairman and former chief restructuring officer of finance specialist Cattles, has become interim chairman, while Peter Bloxham, former head of restructuring and insolvency at law firm Freshfields, has also been brought on board.