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The top 20 contractors by contracting turnover have almost all taken steps to close their final salary schemes to new entrants and nearly half have increased contributions or cut benefits for members. But their pension debts continue to grow – to a combined black hole of just over £1bn. To put each company’s deficit in context – and give a rough indication of how much danger it presents to the balance sheet – we’ve included it as a percentage of the market capitalisation or total value of listed companies, or turnover in the case of private firms. Latest figure for pension fund deficit (FRS 17, gross)Market capitalisation or turnoverDeficit as % of market capitalisation or turnover
1Balfour BeattyClosed to new entrants 2003. No plans to make further changes. £229m1£1.629bn14.10%
2Bovis Lend LeaseClosed to new entrants 2003. Trustees have written to members informing them that contributions will rise, though there are no plans to “do a Rentokil”.£76.5m£2.2bn23.40%
3MowlemNo comment. £99m£320.5m23.90%
4Laing O’RourkeOperates a defined contribution scheme.N/A  
5AmecOpen to everyone, no plans to change that.£120m surplus  
6KierClosed to new members 2002, existing members’ contributions increased by 1% and changes have been made to early retirement terms. Wouldn’t say if there were plans to change it further.£118m£527.2m22.40%
7CarillionClosed to new entrants 2003. Existing members had the choice of raising contributions or taking a cut in benefits. No plans to change it further. £85.6m£684.5m12.50%
8SkanskaClosed to new entrants in 2004, they are offered career average scheme instead. No plans to change it further.£26.5m£3.7bn30.07%
9HBG UKNo comment.£22m4 £554.5m*3.90%
10Sir Robert McAlpineClosed to new entrants 2003.£15m net5£681.3m*2.20%
11CostainClosed to new entrants June 2005. From 1 April this year, final salary retirement benefits replaced by career average.£98.9m£176m56.20%
12Shepherd Building GroupClosed to new entrants 1999. Existing members have the choice of paying increased contributions or receiving reduced benefits. No plans to make further changes. Company reiterated commitment to scheme.£23.7m£655.9m*3.60%
13Morgan SindallClosed scheme to further accrual 1996 – no new entrants could join and existing members were moved to a defined contribution scheme.£2.01m£483.4m0.40%
14KellerClosed to new entrants 1999. Raised employee contributions from 6% to 8% in 2002, employer contribution from 12 to 13% in 2003. Just written to members to announce scheme will close to future accrual on 31 March. £8.2m£268m3.10%
15Wates GroupClosed to new entrants in 2001. Contributions have been increased twice. No immediate changes planned.£22.5m£631m*3.50%
16InterserveClosed to new entrants. In 2003 existing members were told they could either double contributions or halve their benefits. Triennial review due in mid 2006.£130m£406.1m32%
17Bowmer & KirklandDefined benefit scheme closed to employees joining since November 2000.£22.5m£520.6m*4.30%
18MJ GleesonOperates a money purchase scheme.N/A  
19Galliford TryClosed to new members in 2002, replaced with stakeholder scheme. Contributions for existing members were increased to 7% in 2004. No plans to make further changes but pension situation reviewed regularly.£45.9m£260.8m17.60%
20VinciEmployee pensions provided under French rules. Four employees with UK contracts offered defined contribution scheme.N/A  
    £1.025bn TOTAL DEFICIT
* Denotes turnover figure for private companies
1 Total across four schemes: Balfour Beatty Pension Fund, Railways Pension Fund and two Mansell schemes
2 Lend Lease market capitalisation on Australian stock exchange
3 Skanska group market capitalisation on Swedish stock exchange
4 HBG UK deficit as reported September 2005
5 Net figure as quoted in Robert McAlpine’s results