PBGC Demands $16.9M from Bendix

February 4, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – The nation’s private-sector pension insurer said Thursday it had notified Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC of a $16.9-million pension liability stemming from the closing of a Bendix Frankfort, Kentucky, facility.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) said the plant closing led to the resulting job loss of some 60 workers who were participants in the underfunded Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC Pension Plan for Hourly Employees. 

The PBGC said an employer is required by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to provide protection for an underfunded pension plan when more than 20% of its employees covered by the plan lose their jobs due to a facility shutdown.The agency said Bendix will need to provide financial assurance to the agency that the full liability will be contributed to the affected plan if it ends by December 31, 2012 – five years after the plant shutdown.

Bendix, which supplies brakes and vehicle control systems for trucks and commercial vehicles, closed the Frankfort plant on December 31, 2007, and moved its braking system compressor operation to Acuña, Mexico. 

“For more than two years, the PBGC has made numerous efforts to engage Bendix on the matter,” the agency said in a news release. “To date, the company has made no serious attempt to work with the PBGC, and therefore the agency must take the step of officially informing Bendix of its pension liability.”

Bendix is headquartered in Elyria, Ohio, and is owned by Knorr-Bremse AG of Munich, Germany.