Boots this week became the first major company to apply FRS 17 - the controversial new accounting standard on pensions - as it announced a healthy surplus.
In this year’s annual report for year ended 31 March, unveiled by chief executive Steve Russell, the High Street chemist reported a pension scheme surplus of £250m under FRS 17.
John Ralfe, head of corporate finance, told AccountancyAge.com: ‘You can make a better comparison of what’s happening in pension schemes. We think it’s a good thing. We’ve nothing to hide.
‘Without wanting to sound too cynical, only if you have something to hide would you not want to apply for it.’
Under FRS 17 companies will have to measure assets and liabilities using market values rather than at historical cost. The standard will take effect in stages but by 2003 it will be fully effective.
Boots’ pension surplus comes in marked contrast to that of BT’s which reported a deficit of around £1bn. The company put the cash shortfall down to former employees’ longevity.
Since it was published, FSE companies have voiced concerns over the volatility the new standard will bring and analysts’ understanding of the larger figures.