Visteon, the automotive supplier currently going through bankruptcy proceedings, is seeking to rid itself of pension obligations for 21,000 current workers and retirees. It wouldn't mean the end of pensions for the workers, but the payments would be taken over by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), and that would mean diminished benefits.

Visteon contributes to four pension plans, three of which is it attempting to drop. The company owes $544 million to those three plans, and although it will make $260 million in payments over the next five years its obligations will grow if it cannot free itself. If it does get clear, pensioners will collectively lose $100 million in benefits because of caps on what the federal body can guarantee.

The PBGC wants Visteon to keep making pension payments, but its now in the hands of the Delaware judge handling the bankruptcy. Visteon has presented a few different options for reorganization, but each has met with resistance from one or more involved parties, including the plan to pay $8.1 million in bonuses to executives and the structure of it's post-bankruptcy stock allocation. The company hopes to emerge from Chapter 11 by the middle of next year. Pension recipients will hope they do it with their funds intact, but that isn't looking likely.

[Source: Detroit News | Image: Bill Pugliano/Getty]

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