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Agency takes over pension plans

January 20, 2007|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A federal agency said Friday that it had taken responsibility for pension plans covering nearly 900 workers and retirees of Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Co.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which insures private defined benefit pension plans, estimated that the four pension plans had combined assets of $20.1 million to cover promised benefits totaling $29.6 million.

The agency said it would be liable for $2.7 million of the $9.5-million shortfall.

Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Co. is a subsidiary of Foothill Ranch-based Kaiser Aluminum Corp., which terminated the pension plans last year as part of its exit from bankruptcy protection.

Helped by a new law, the pension agency reduced its deficit to $18.1 billion last year, an improvement from a shortfall of $22.8 billion recorded in 2005.

The agency had seen its debt swell as steel and airline companies under Bankruptcy Court protection dumped their pension responsibilities on it.

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