Tata Steel agrees deal to restructure UK pension fund

LONDON (AP) — Tata Steel and British authorities have agreed on a plan to restructure the firm's British pension scheme, ending one aspect of uncertainty for 130,000 current and retired steelworkers.

Indian-owned Tata announced plans last year to sell its U.K. operations, including the Port Talbot steelworks in Wales. But after interventions from the British government and unions it agreed to keep the business.

A sticking point was 15 billion pounds ($19.5 billion) in British pension liabilities. Steelworkers voter earlier this year to accept lower benefits if it meant protecting jobs.

Tata Steel U.K. said Friday it had signed an arrangement with pension trustees to separate the plan from the company, in exchange for a cash injection.

The deal addresses one obstacle to a proposed merger between Tata's British businesses and Germany's Thyssenkrupp.