PBGC Seizes Chicago Firm's Plan

April 1, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is moving to take over the underfunded pension plan sponsored by Liam Ventures Inc., a privately owned Chicago holding company, the PBGC announced.

>According to an agency¬† news release , Liam Ventures is the successor firm to Farley Inc., which acquired a network of companies through junk-bond financing in the 1980’s.

>The pension plan covers about 4,400 workers and retirees of Farley Metals, Magnus, and other metals companies controlled by Liam Ventures. The companies’ operations in Statesville, North Carolina; Toledo, Ohio; and Pottstown, Pennsylvania, are closed while 77 active workers are employed at a Liam Ventures facility in Fremont, Nebraska.

>The PBGC estimated that the plan was 22% funded. The last time Liam contributed any money to the pension was for the 1998 plan year. The plan has paid out roughly $55 million in benefits from the beginning of 1999 through the end of 2003. Liam also has failed to make more than $31 million in legally required contributions, the agency said.

>The pension plan, called Retirement Programs of Liam Ventures Inc., has about $39 million in assets to cover roughly $175 million in benefit promises. The PBGC expects to be responsible for $133 million of the $136 million shortfall. The pension plan will end as of March 31, 2005.