Friday Set as Pittsburgh Brewing Pension Turnover Pact

April 19, 2006 ( - A federal bankruptcy judge has given a bankrupt Pittsburgh brewery and federal officials until Friday to work out a procedure for transferring the company's ailing defined benefit pension plan to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

Chief US Bankruptcy Judge M. Bruce McCullough of the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania announced that he plans to approve the plan transfer to the PBGC, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.  

The plan, which covers 521 current and former workers and retirees, carries an $11.8 million funding shortfall.

Pittsburgh Brewing said it wouldn’t be able to emerge from bankruptcy unless it obtained the relief. The company sought bankruptcy protection December 7 after the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority threatened to terminate service over $2.5 million in unpaid bills dating to 1996.

Workers stopped earning additional retirement benefits when the pension plan was frozen in 1995.

Pittsburgh Brewing sought permission from the PBGC to terminate the pension fund early in 2005, saying the deficit made lenders leery about financing much needed improvements to the company’s keg system and boiler (See Pittsburgh Brewing to PBGC: Take Our DB Plan ). The government agency did not act on the request before the bankruptcy filing.