- Logistics company Wincanton stuck by its recently upgraded annual profit guidance and said it had made a new pension agreement that included a reduced deficit.

In a trading update for the six months through September, Wincanton said its guidance outlined on 9 September for results in the current year to be 'materially ahead' of market expectations remained unchanged.

'The performance of the group was resilient during the period despite the challenging external environment,' the company said.

'The digital and eFulfilment business continues to benefit from increased demand for online retail, while performance and the level of new business wins across the rest of the group has been encouraging.'

Wincanton also announced that it had reached an agreement with the trustee of the Wincanton Pension Scheme on the 2020 triennial valuation and recovery plan.

Annual deficit contributions, excluding deferred amounts from the current year, were £18.2 million per annum from April 2021 through to March 2024.

The net amount would increase annually from April 2021 in line with the retail prices index.

The agreement also included £21.3 million per annum from April 2024 to March 2027, increasing annually from April 2024 in line with RPI.

Annual cash contributions were around £6 million a year lower than proposed for the period from April 2021 to March 2027 under the 2017 valuation, due to positive investment returns and longevity experience.

The actuarial deficit at 31 March 2020 was £154 million, having been impacted by market volatility in relation to Covid-19 uncertainty.

The estimated actuarial deficit at 30 June 2020 had reduced to £105 million.

'The agreement reached with the trustees of our pension scheme provides greater certainty and lower risk for both the group and the scheme and we welcome the reduction in the deficit and the revision to cash payments for the remainder of the recovery period,' chief executive James Wroath said.

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