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Structured finance market round up: Top marks for UK retailer M&S

UK retailer Marks & Spencer is to partly plug the £704 million ($1.4 billion) hole in its UK defined benefit pension scheme by redeeming its 2001 Amethyst Finance sale and leaseback CMBS deal. The properties backing the CMBS have a current estimated book value of £550 million. UK supermarket group J Sainsbury exploited the value of its property portfolio in early 2006 by securitizing half of its property portfolio and injecting the proceeds into its pension fund. M&S plans to put its properties into a partnership in which the pension scheme will hold the interest. The cost of unwinding Amethyst and setting up the new partnership will be £30 million to £35 million.

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