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Fri, Dec 28, 2012

Hawker Beechcraft Dumping Two Underfunded Pension Plans

Programs Cover Non-Union Workers And Retirees

In a filing made just a few minutes before midnight last Friday, Hawker Beechcraft dumped pension plans covering nearly 9,500 non-union workers and retirees that were severely underfunded. The move came as part of an agreement with the federal government's Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp (PBGC) and the planemaker's machinists' union.

Under the terms of the agreement, the PBGC will assume responsibility for the two terminated pensions, while HBC, which will emerge from bankruptcy as Beechcraft Corporation, will keep the pension plan covering its 8,200 current and former union workers.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the two scrapped plans are short by hundreds of millions of dollars. In return for taking on the plans, which will pay a guaranteed benefit to a retired worker up to $56,000 per year, the PBGC will receive an unsecured claim against the company of $419.5 million. At the end of the bankruptcy proceedings, the government entity will recover about seven cents on the dollar, according to the report.

The hedge funds which are acquiring HBC, including Bain Capital's Sankaty Advisors, had originally demanded that the planemaker dump all three of its pension plans. They reportedly moved away from that position "in the spirit of compromise" and in an effort to avoid almost certain litigation.

The plan will be considered by Bankruptcy Judge Stuart M. Bernstein at a hearing currently scheduled for January 17th. Hawker Beechcraft expects to emerge from bankruptcy under its new structure early next year.

FMI: http://dm.epiq11.com/HBC/Project

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