PBGC Seizes Plan from Cigarette Lighter Maker

December 30, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com)The nation’s private-sector pension insurer is taking over the underfunded pension program for more than 460 workers and retirees of a New Jersey-based cigarette lighter manufacturer.

A news release from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) said it is assuming responsibility for the Ronson Corp. plan because the plan will not be able to make its benefit payments and could be abandoned as part of the sale of the company’s assets.

The PBGC estimates the Ronson Corporation Retirement Plan is 33% funded, with assets of $2.7 million to cover benefit liabilities of $8.2 million. The agency expects to be responsible for the entire $5.5 million shortfall. The plan ended Wednesday.

Under federal pension law, the maximum guaranteed pension at age 65 for participants in plans that terminate in 2009 is $54,000 per year.

Ronson is the parent company of three operating units: Ronson Aviation, Inc., an aircraft fueling and servicing company; Ronson Consumer Products Corp., a maker and distributor of Ronsonol lighter fluid and various other lighter accessories; and Ronson Corporation of Canada Ltd., which markets the company’s products throughout Canada.