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PBGC to take over James River Coal pension fund


The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. will take over the defined benefit plan of James River Coal Co., the agency announced Wednesday.

The Richmond, Virginia-based mining operation, which includes 33 subsidiary companies, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond. The company sold most of its assets in bankruptcy to Blackhawk Mining L.L.C. following court approval Aug. 28, according to the PBGC. Blackhawk Mining is not assuming the pension plan.

Participants in the $74 million James River Coal Company Employees’ Pension Plan will continue to receive benefits from the company until the PBGC assumes responsibility. PBGC officials estimate that the plan is 61% funded, with a shortfall of $47.1 million, of which the PBGC expects to cover $44.6 million. The company’s defined benefit plan was terminated as of Aug. 31, 2014.

Calls to officials at James River Coal Co. and the restructuring agent, Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions, were not returned at press time.

Hazel Bradford writes for Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Business Insurance.

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