PBGC Takes Oregon Pulp Mill Pension Plan

October 22, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The nation's private-sector pension insurer has taken over the pension covering employees of a Portland, Oregon pulp and lumber company.

ThePension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) said it stepped in to take over the Pope & Talbot Inc. Pension Plan because the plan would be unable to pay benefits when due and faced abandonment following the company’s bankruptcy liquidation.

The PBGC estimates that the plan is 92% funded, with $57.5 million in assets to cover $62.3 million in benefit liabilities. The agency expects to be responsible for $3.7 million of the $4.8 million shortfall. The plan covers 1,370 employees and retirees.

According to a PBGC announcement, the agency will take over the assets and use insurance funds to pay guaranteed benefits earned under the plan, which ended as of May 9, 2008. The PBGC became trustee of the plan on Oct.1, 2008.

Founded in 1849, Pope & Talbot had eight mills in British Columbia, Oregon, and South Dakota. On October 29, 2007, the company and its affiliates sought creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act in Canada, and then filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware on November 19, 2007.