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PBGC reaches settlement with Saint-Gobain to prevent pension plan takeover

PBGC reaches settlement with Saint-Gobain to prevent pension plan takeover

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. has reached a settlement that will allow Saint-Gobain Containers Inc., Muncie, Ind., to continue as the sponsor of its pension plan following threats by the agency to take possession of the plan, PBGC spokesman Marc Hopkins said.

The settlement is the result of an agreement by Saint-Gobain to make $207.5 million in additional contributions to its plan, bringing its funding ratio to 80% from 63%.

The PBGC had announced in April 2013 that it would be taking over the plan due to parent Compagnie de Saint-Gobain's agreement to sell the firm for $1.7 billion to a unit of Ardagh Group, a below-investment-grade company. The sale would have increased the risk of pension default, according to the PBGC.

The $207.5 million in contributions “significantly improved the plan's financial standing, providing additional comfort to its 13,000 participants,” according to a PBGC news release.

In April 2013, the PBGC had estimated the Saint-Gobain had $876 million in assets and $1.4 billion in projected benefit obligations. Mr. Hopkins could not provide an updated estimate.

Rob Kozlowski writes for Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Business Insurance.