WHX: PBGC Backs Away From Plan Takeover

July 25, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Steelmaker WHX Corp. announced that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC), the nation's private sector pension insurer, no longer wants to involuntarily terminate WHX's pension plan, and is dropping its federal court civil suit.

According to news reports, WHX said in a news release that the settlement of the PBGC’s civil case requires completion of Wheeling-Pittsburgh’s bankruptcy reorganization that was  confirmed last month by the US Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Wheeling Pitt and its subsidiaries have operated under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since November 2000.

The PBGC announced March 7 that it intended to take over the WHX Corp. plan, which covered 9,400 workers and retirees of two subsidiaries, the bankrupt Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp. of Wheeling, West Virginia., and Handy & Harman of Rye, New York (See  Another Steel Plan To Go Into PBGC’s Fold ).

At the time of the announcement, the WHX Pension Plan was 68% funded, with roughly $300 million in assets to cover more than $443 million in benefit liabilities. The current pension plan was established in 1997.