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News & Policy

PBGC Helps Preserve Pensions for 7,400 People at Tronox in Oklahoma City

June 30, 2011

WASHINGTON—In an effort to save the retirement plans of roughly 7,400 workers and retirees of the Oklahoma-based Tronox, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation successfully worked with the company to emerge from bankruptcy with its pension plan intact.

“We work to preserve both businesses and their pensions," said PBGC Director Josh Gotbaum. "PBGC doesn't ask a company to risk its business if it can't afford its pension plan, but many companies like Tronox go through bankruptcy with their pensions unharmed.”

If the pension plan is terminated, PBGC will pay pension benefits to employees and retirees. However, because of limits set by law, some retirees might get reduced pensions, and PBGC does not insure health benefits at all.

Tronox, a specialty chemicals manufacturer, filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York City, in January 2009. The company emerged from bankruptcy in February 2011.

PBGC’s mission of pension protection includes helping bankrupt employers finds ways to keep their plans going, within the reorganized company or under a new owner. The agency’s success in the FY2011 second quarter secured benefits promised to some 10,400 workers and kept more than $400 million in pension liabilities off PBGC’s balance sheet.

“PBGC wants employers to keep the pension promises they make,” said Director Josh Gotbaum. “We’re glad we were able to work with these companies and their lenders to make sure workers will get the retirement benefits they earned.”

In addition to Tronox, PBGC worked with the following companies to keep pensions ongoing following bankruptcy reorganization or asset sales in the second quarter of 2011:

  • Boston Generating LLC (Utilities) – Boston, Mass., 113 participants
  • Fair Point Communications Inc. (Telecommunications and Cable) – Charlotte, N.C., 2,400 participants
  • Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. (Airlines) – El Segundo, Calif., 500 participants

Since 2009, PBGC has worked with debtors and creditors in more than 40 bankruptcies to preserve benefits for over 300,000 workers and retirees, and to keep more than $4 billion off the agency's books.

About PBGC

PBGC protects the pension benefits of 44 million Americans in 27,500 private-sector pension plans. The agency is directly responsible for paying the benefits of more than 1.5 million people in failed pension plans. PBGC receives no taxpayer dollars and never has. Its operations are financed by insurance premiums and with assets and recoveries from failed plans.

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PBGC No. 11-48