COMMONS

BHS pensions, sales and acquisitions: joint evidence sessions announced

18 May 2016

The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee and the Work and Pensions Committee have announced details of future joint evidence sessions for their separate inquiries into BHS.

Planned evidence sessions

The Committees are holding separate inquiries relating to BHS but these evidence sessions will be held jointly – all dates and times are to be confirmed.

Monday 23 May 2016

At 3.50pm, the Grimond Room, Portcullis House

Panel 1: Advisers on pensions

  • Ian Greenstreet (Partner), Nabarro
  • Tony Clare (Partner), Deloitte
  • David Clarke (Partner), KPMG
  • Richard Cousins (Partner), PwC
  • Emma King (Partner), Eversheds LLP

Panel 2: Advisers to Arcadia / Taveta

  • Owen Clay (Partner), Linklaters
  • Steve Denison (Partner), PwC
  • Anthony Gutman (Co-Head, EMEA Investment Banking Services), Goldman Sachs

Panel 3: Arcadia / Taveta

  • Ian Grabiner, CEO Arcadia Group, Director, Taveta Investments (No.2) and Taveta Investments Ltd
  • Lord Grabiner, Director and Non-Executive Chairman of Taveta Investments (No.2) and Taveta Investments Ltd
  • Paul Budge, Finance Director, Arcadia Group, Director Taveta Investments (No.2) and Tavesta Investments Ltd.
  • Gillian Hague, Group Financial Controller, Arcadia Group’s Shared Services, Director, Arcadia Group and Taveta Investments (No.2) Ltd
  • Chris Harris, Group Property Director, Arcadia Group, Director, Taveta Investments Ltd

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Panel 1: BHS Current Pension Fund Trustees

  • Chris Martin (Chair)
  • Mike Lymath
  • Phil Kitchen
  • Jason Hyde

Panel 2: BHS Pension Fund former Trustees

  • Margaret Downes (former Chair)
  • Siobhan Forey
  • Richard de Dombal

Panel 3: Advisers to Retail Acquisitions Ltd.

  • David Roberts, Partner, Olswang
  • Mark Byers, Grant Thornton
  • Andrew Frangos, Chief Executive, Cornhill Capital

Tuesday 7 June 2016

At 3.30pm

  • Robin Saunders, Managing Partner of Clearbrook Capital

At 4.30pm

  • Nicolas Giauque, Managing Member: London, Farallon Capital Europe LLP
  • Joseph Dryer, Head of Capital Markets and Advisory, RiverRock

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Panel 1: BHS management

  • Darren Topp, Chief Executive, BHS
  • Richard Price, Former Chief Executive, BHS
  • Michael Hitchcock, Former Finance Consultant, BHS

Panel 2: Retail Acquisitions Ltd. Board

  • Aidan Treacy, former Director, Retail Acquisitions Ltd
  • Mark Tasker, former Director, Retail Acquisitions Ltd
  • Eddie Parladorio, former Director, Retail Acquisitions Ltd
  • Stephen Bourne, former Director, Retail Acquisitions Ltd

Panel 3

  • Dominic Chappell

Wednesday 15 June 2016

  • Sir Philip Green

Purpose of the sessions

The session on Monday 23 May 2016 focuses on the role of advisers and their advice on BHS pension arrangements and the sale and purchase of BHS.

On Wednesday 25 May 2016, the Committees question the advisers to Retail Acquisitions Limited (RAL) on the acquisition of BHS. As previously advertised, the Committees also question BHS Pension Fund Trustees on Wednesday 25 May 2016.

On 7 June 2016, the Committees take evidence from potential financiers of RAL’s acquisition of BHS, although none of this finance was ultimately forthcoming.

On 8 June 2016, the Committees question BHS management, the RAL Board, and Dominic Chappell.

On 15 June 2016, the Committees question Sir Philip Green.

Chair's comments

Iain Wright MP, Chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee said:

"In these sessions, we will want to explore how Retail Acquisitions Limited (RAL) was considered to be a suitable buyer for BHS, an apparently struggling high street store which was saddled with a large pension deficit. We will want to untangle the nature of the advice, both formal and informal, which was provided to Arcadia and RAL as part of the sale process. We will want to probe the role of directors in this sale and to examine whether the existing regulatory regime is fit for purpose."

Frank Field, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said:

"We have selected our witnesses with five key questions in mind: how much money over the past decade or more left BHS? How did the pension fund deficit grow during this phase? To whom did this money go? How did the pension fund feature in negotiations over BHS's recent change of ownership? And does the law, or rather the enforcement of the law, require reform to prevent similar episodes happening in future?"

Further information

Image: PA

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