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PBGC Assumes Responsibility for the Plastech Exterior System Pension Plan

October 05, 2010

WASHINGTON-The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) today announced it has assumed responsibility for the underfunded pension plan covering more than 780 former workers and retirees of Plastech Exterior Systems Inc., an auto parts maker in Dearborn, Mich.

The PBGC stepped in because Plastech and its parent company, Plastech Engineered Products Inc., liquidated in bankruptcy proceedings, and there will be no sponsor left to fund or administer the plan. Retirees will continue to receive their monthly benefit payments without interruption, and other workers will receive their pensions when they are eligible to retire.

According to PBGC estimates, the Plastech Exterior Systems Inc. Retirement Plan is 77 percent funded, with assets of $17.1 million to cover $22.5 million in benefit liabilities. The PBGC expects to be responsible for $5.2 million of the $5.4 million shortfall.

The PBGC will take over the assets and use insurance funds to pay guaranteed benefits earned under the plan. The plan ended on June 30, 2008, and the agency assumed responsibility for the plan on Sept. 13, 2010.

Within the next several weeks, the PBGC will send notification letters to all participants in the Plastech plan. Under provisions of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, the maximum guaranteed pension the PBGC can pay is determined by the legal limits in force on the date of the plan sponsor's bankruptcy. Therefore participants in the plan are subject to the limits in effect when Plastech filed for bankruptcy protection on Feb. 1, 2008, which set a maximum guaranteed amount of $51,750 per year for a 65-year-old.

The maximum guaranteed amount is lower for those who retire earlier or elect survivor benefits. In addition, certain early retirement subsidies and benefit increases made within the five years immediately before the Feb. 1, 2008 bankruptcy date may not be fully guaranteed.

Plastech's parent, Plastech Engineered Products Inc., was founded in 1988 as a privately owned company that supplied plastic products for the automotive industry. The company's products included interior trim, under hood components, bumpers and cockpit modules. The company sought Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit on Feb. 1, 2008 and its case was later converted to Chapter 7 liquidation. Plastech's most significant assets sales closed on June 30, 2008.

Workers and retirees with questions may consult the PBGC Web site, or call toll-free at 1-800-400-7242. For TTY/TDD users, call the federal relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask for 800-400-7242.

Plastech retirees who draw a benefit from the PBGC may be eligible for the federal Health Coverage Tax Credit. Further information may be found on the PBGC Web site at

Assumption of the plan's unfunded liabilities will increase the PBGC's claims by $5.2 million and was not previously included in the agency's fiscal year 2009 financial statements.

The PBGC is a federal corporation created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. It currently guarantees payment of basic pension benefits earned by 44 million American workers and retirees participating in over 29,000 private-sector defined benefit pension plans. The agency receives no funds from general tax revenues. Operations are financed largely by insurance premiums paid by companies that sponsor pension plans and by investment returns.

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PBGC No. 11-01