Diageo is planning to pay off an estimated GBP100m (US$174.6m) from its UK pension fund deficit by the end of the year.

The UK drinks giant said today (27 March) that it had agreed a deal with pension trustees that would see it pay off the deficit over seven years from the start of the 2007 financial year. On 31 December 2005, the pension deficit stood at GBP653m.

Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh said: "This funding framework, together with changes we have made to the pension scheme, demonstrate Diageo's commitment to provide a high standard of employment benefits. It follows the sale of our shares in General Mills and our full exit from Burger King and provides further clarity in relation to Diageo's balance sheet."