Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. Takes Over Lenox Pension Plans

By Staff Report

May. 20, 2009

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. has taken over two pension plans sponsored by Lenox Group Inc., the Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based fine china manufacturer that is in bankruptcy.

The PBGC said Tuesday, May 19, that it stepped in because the plans would be abandoned after the sale of company assets, which is intended as part of Lenox’s bankruptcy reorganization proceeding.

New York-based private investment firm Clarion Capital Partners completed the purchase of most Lenox assets in mid-March after an auction in February.

The two plans taken over by the PBGC have combined assets of $70 million and liabilities of $200 million.

The PBGC said it expects to cover $128 million of the $130 million funding shortfall. Both plans were frozen on January 1, 2007, and have about 4,300 participants.

The loss is the PBGC’s biggest since April 2007, when the agency took over a pension plan sponsored by bankrupt auto parts manufacturer Collins & Aikman Corp. of Southfield, Michigan. At the time, the PBGC estimated it would be responsible for $161 million of the plan’s $181 million in unfunded liabilities.

Filed by Jerry Geisel of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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