(Bloomberg) — The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. is about to take over Reichhold Inc.’s retirement plan, which covers almost 4,500 current and former workers at the maker of polyester resins, saying it’s underfunded by $97.4 million.
A bankruptcy judge in Delaware last month approved the sale of Reichhold’s business, partly in exchange for $46 million in junior secured debt. After the sale is completed this month, the Durham, North Carolina-based company won’t have any active operations.
In October, the PBGC started the process of terminating the pension plan, whose benefits were frozen in December 2012. Reichhold arranged a Feb. 23 court hearing in Wilmington, Delaware, to seek approval of an agreement terminating the plan and handing the assets over to the PBGC.
Under the agreement, Reichhold doesn’t acknowledge the accuracy of the PBGC’s underfunding estimate. The company said no prospective buyers of the business would have assumed the pension plan and its liabilities.
Including secured debt that was forgiven, the lenders paid $146.7 million. The junior noteholders will take over non-bankrupt affiliates through consensual foreclosure, using a sale structure laid out when the Chapter 11 reorganization started last year.
Bankruptcy lenders and buyers are funds managed by Third Avenue Management LLC, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Black Diamond Capital Management LLC. They are the largest holders of the senior secured notes issued by the company’s non-bankrupt parent in the aggregate principal amount of about $255 million, according to court papers.
Reichhold, the subject of a management buyout in 2005, blamed its financial woes on declining revenue resulting from the recession. The company has 19 plants in 13 countries.
It filed for Chapter 11 on Sept. 30, listing consolidated assets of $538 million and liabilities totaling $631 million as of June 30. Affiliates outside the U.S. are not in bankruptcy.
The case is In re Reichhold Holdings US Inc., 14-bk-12237, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).