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PBGC Objects To Ormet Sale

Hearing on Wayzata’s purchase plan pushed back

May 15, 2013
By CASEY JUNKINS - Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

HANNIBAL - Citing retirement plans that are underfunded by "over $235 million," the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. is objecting to Ormet Corp.'s sale to Wayzata Investment Partners.

Therefore, the sales hearing that had been set for today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware has been delayed until 11:30 a.m. May 22, according to court documents. Ormet is set to be sold to Smelter Acquisition LLC, a Wayzata subsidiary, for $221 million.

The Washington, D.C.-based PBGC insures the retirement incomes of more than 44 million Americans employed in the private sector. When an underfunded pension plan terminates, this agency generally takes over the plan.

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Photo by Casey Junkins
The sale of Ormet Corp. to a subsidiary of Wayzata Investment Partners for $221 million has been delayed because of an objection from the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

The PBGC is the same agency that recently took over responsibility for some RG Steel pension plans, following that company's bankruptcy and liquidation last year. The agency is also suing RG Steel's owner, New York City-based Renco Group, for $97 million for allegedly trying to sell off assets to avoid its pension obligations.

After his company filed for restructuring in February, Ormet Chief Executive Officer and President Mike Tanchuk said the aluminum producer hoped to be purchased by Minnesota-based Wayzata. Although Ormet has found ways to deal with much of its debt, the major reason for the bankruptcy involves pension costs, he said.

Prior to Ormet's bankruptcy filing, PBGC officials confirmed Ormet owed at least $1 million worth of required pension payments.

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