Private equity investors who bought bed manufacturer Silentnight have failed in a bid to block The Pensions Regulator in pursuing £17m for its stricken pension fund.
US private equity firm HIG Group and related offshore funds, individuals and limited liability partnerships had claimed TPR was acting beyond its administrative powers in the issue of a Warning Notice relating to the attempted recovery of assets of the Silentnight Group defined benefit scheme, which is in deficit and expected to enter the Pension Protection Fund.
As part of an investigation into the sale of the group’s business and assets to HIG, TPR sought expert evidence from an insolvency practitioner who has argued that there has been a sale at an undervalue and that in consequence the Pension Scheme had lost out on additional returns.
A judgment handed down on 10th January Administrative Court found that judicial review is not the appropriate forum in which to resolve the issues raised by the claimants, because it has other remedies open to it.
TPR general counsel and director of legal services Anthony Raymond says: “The judge agreed with our submission that these issues should not be resolved by the Administrative Court. We will defend what we consider to be unfounded judicial review applications and do all we can to ensure that these do not derail or delay the resolution of our cases before the Determinations Panel.”