BEAUMONT, Texas (Jan. 22)—Ameripol Synpol Corp. is terminating employee and retiree pension plans that cover nearly 1,390 former workers of the synthetic rubber producer.
The company—or more accurately the corporate remnants of the former SR firm—notified former employees Dec. 30 that it could no longer fund the pension plans and therefore was taking action to terminate them. The employees, however, should receive all or nearly all their expected payments through the federal government's Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. benefits protection provisions after a standard review process, a PBGC spokesman said.
In its Dec. 30 "Distress Termination" filing with the bankruptcy court, Ameripol Synpol lists 593 affected individuals in the union pension plan and 794 in the employee pension plan. The filing is done with a 60-day notice, meaning the earliest the PBGC can deal with it would be Feb. 29, the spokesman said. The PBGC then has 60 days from that date to review the case and make a determination.
Ameripol Synpol claimed in court documents that trying to fund the pension plans will impair its ability to reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The documents show the company calculates it needs at least $9.4 million in the next two years to meet the minimum funding requirements for the two plans.
The firm currently consists of two employees, a 13-mile pipeline, a dormant SBR plant in Odessa, Texas, and various related assets. The net book value of the assets is $5.5 million, according to court documents, vs. secured debtor claims of $8.4 million and unsecured claims of $6.2 million.