Qatar’s prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani yesterday sent a letter to Lords John and David Sainsbury assuring them that his investment vehicle, Delta Two, had the Sainsbury’s long-term interests at heart. The Times. Daily Telegraph. The Independent. Financial Times

At the same time the pension trustees of the supermarket group are seeking an urgent meeting with Delta Two, which is trying to buy the retailer for £10.4bn.

The company’s latest reported accounts, for 2007, show that Sainsbury’s has a pension deficit of £103m, down from £658m last year, on a fund with £4.4bn of liabilities.

Under new pension laws, trustees must be consulted in takeovers and some have the power to block a deal if they do not like the funding offered to the scheme by the bidder.