Government will help pay Techneglas pensions

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. will take responsibility for the pensions of almost 3,000 hourly workers at bankrupt Techneglas Inc., including its former employees in Central Ohio.

The federal government is getting involved because Techneglas has missed $17 million in required contributions and the company's pension plan will be abandoned when it completes its Chapter 11 reorganization.

About 40 percent of the $164 million in benefit liabilities is covered by $67 million of company assets. The government plans to make up about $70 million of the remaining $97 million.

Retirees will continue to receive benefit checks, and other workers will receive their pensions when they retire.

Techneglas, a subsidiary of Nippon Electric Glass Ltd. of Japan, produced specialty glass for television sets. At its peak in 1997, Techneglas employed 3,400 workers at its Columbus operations and headquarters, and factories in Perrysburg and Pittston, Pa.

After three years of trimming away workers, the East Jenkins Avenue plant was shuttered in 2004, putting 382 people out of work. The company was buffeted by stiff competition from newer television formats, such as plasma TV, and from cheaper rivals in China and Malaysia.

The company filed for Chapter 11 reorganization last September.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty isn't funded by general tax revenues. It collects insurance premiums from employers that sponsor insured pension plans, earns money from investments and receives funds from the pension plans it takes over. It was created by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974

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