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LTV Seeks to Avoid Big Payment to Its Retirement Fund

July 19, 1986|From Times Wire Services

LTV Corp., seeking to avoid a $200-million payment to its steelworkers' retirement fund due in six weeks, briefed federal pension officials Friday on its decision to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Kathleen Utgoff, executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., called the meeting with LTV officials "positive" but said no decisions were reached on how to deal with LTV pension obligations to 100,000 current employees and retirees.

Relief from the scheduled $200-million pension payment due in September is one of LTV's first priorities following its Chapter 11 filing with a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, company officials said. The filing protects LTV from creditors' and suppliers' lawsuits while it develops a plan to reduce its debts, shed losing operations and return to profitability.

Action May Come Next Week

The PBGC could permit LTV to waive the $200 million temporarily. LTV could also terminate its plan, turning its pension obligations over to the PBGC, an employer-funded agency that insures pensions of American workers. But LTV officials said they are not seeking a termination.

Action by the PBGC on LTV's situation could come early next week, a PBGC spokesman said.

In Pittsburgh, United Steelworkers President Lynn Williams said that his union and five of the nation's leading steelmakers will ask President Reagan to meet with them over what they call a crisis in their industry. "It's reached national emergency proportions in our view," Williams said. "At some point the President has to listen."

The coalition will seek an aid program that probably will include the rebuilding of the nation's highways and bridges and sewer and water lines with American metal, he said at a news conference.

Job retraining programs for displaced workers, joint government and industry research into steelmaking technology, broader "buy American" policies, tax breaks and cheaper loans are other likely points, Williams said.

In a related development Friday, Denver-based Cyprus Minerals Co., which supplies metallurgical coal to LTV, said it is negotiating with the steelmaker to save several long-term contracts that are responsible for a major portion of its income.

Two-thirds of Cyprus' net income for the first six months of 1986 came from doing business with LTV, and the minerals company said the steelmaker currently owes it $18 million for shipments of coal made before the bankruptcy filing.

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