UK - Several dozen UK pension funds have filed a lawsuit against Henderson Global Investors over its £1bn (€1.2bn) decision to buy infrastructure group John Laing in 2006.

Claimants are understood to include the £9bn BBC Pension Scheme and Railpen Investments, which administers £18bn in assets for the Railways Pension Scheme, as well as the corporate pension funds for defence company BAE Systems and medical insurer Bupa.

According to sources familiar with the case, the lawsuit was filed with the UK High Court last night.

IPE understands that between 20 and 30 pension schemes are involved.

The source stressed that while the claimants would have preferred a negotiated solution, none could be reached, and the lawsuit was filed.

The pension fund for packaging manufacturer Smurfit Kappa - said last year to be part of the group considering a suit - did not return calls at time of publication.

In late 2006, Henderson acquired John Laing for its PFI Secondary Fund II, outbidding Allianz.

The pension funds that invested in the fund argue that the deal exposed them to unexpected liabilities - including John Laing's pension deficit - which eventually resulted in a 66% drop in the PFI Secondary's value by June 2009.

They also claim PFI Secondary had been advertised as 'low risk' and that the asset manager's use of the bulk of the fund to acquire a single company ran counter to that.

Henderson did not reply to requests for comment at time of publication.