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SAir president defends pension fund move

The SairGroup, which owns the national carrier, Swissair, has converted part of the surplus from its pension fund into capital funds. The SAir president, Philippe Bruggisser (picture), defended the move in a newspaper interview.

This content was published on March 5, 2000 - 19:21

The SairGroup, which owns the national carrier, Swissair, has converted part of the surplus from its pension fund into capital funds. The SAir president, Philippe Bruggisser (picture), defended the move, arguing that the group contributes more to the pension fund than its employees.

However, he recognised that employees also have a right to the surplus.

Bruggisser made the remarks in an interview with the SonntagsZeitung newspaper a day before SAir publishes its results for 1999. He said the move had improved the capital funds ratio from 20 to 24 per cent, despite a string of acquisitions last year.

He revealed that the pension fund contains SFr12 billion, while the group's pension needs are covered by SFr9 billion. He said that the decision to convert a third of the surplus to capital funds was taken after much reflection.

He rejected criticism of the group's acquisition policy. He said the group had carefully considered the stakes it took in South African Airways, Italy's Volare and the Polish carrier, Lot, and that all three made profits.

He also turned his attention to Switzerland's old age pension scheme. He said that it should be kept, although changes were necessary.

He said it should take income more into account. "For people who earn more than SFr100,000 it's only fair to ask if the old age pension makes any sense."

From staff and wire reports

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