PBGC Takes on National Refractories Plan

January 13, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has assumed responsibility for six pension plans covering nearly 1,100 employees of Livermore, California-based National Refractories & Minerals Corp. and its Chicago Fire Brick and Wellsville Fire Brick affiliates.

The six pension plans, with combined assets of $23 million and benefit liabilities of $33 million, are underfunded by $10 million, according to PBGC estimates. After terminating January 14, 2003 the agency will take over assets in the National Refractories’ Columbiana, Mexico, Building Trades, and Moss Landing pension plans.   Additionally, the PBGC is set to acquire the assets in the Chicago Fire Brick Employees and Wellsville Fire Brick pension plans.

“PBGC is stepping in because the companies are liquidating and the pension plans face imminent abandonment,” said PBGC Executive Director Steven A. Kandarian.   “Because of PBGC’s guarantee, retirees will continue to receive their monthly checks up to federal limits on insured benefits.   Other covered workers will receive basic pension benefits when they are eligible to retire.”

Under federal pension law, the maximum pension guaranteed for workers in plans that terminated in 2003 is $3,664 a month, $43,977 a year, for persons retiring at age 65.   Maximum guarantees are adjusted for retirees older or younger than age 65 and for those who choose survivor benefits.   Temporary benefit supplements for early retirees and certain portions of recent benefit improvements are not covered by PBGC.