Furniture Brands reaches pension settlement

Furniture Brands Wind Down Inc., the remnant of bankrupt Furniture Brands International, has reached a deal with its creditors and the  federal Pension Benefit Guaranty CorpHeritage Home Group logo

The settlement, which still needs court approval, has the PBGC reducing its claim against the company from $340 million to  $300 million.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sept. 9. Most of its assets were purchased by KPS Capital Partners, which created Heritage Home Group to serve as the new parent company for Lane, Broyhill, Thomasville and other former FBI companies.

Lane, headquartered in Tupelo, employs several hundred at its Tupelo plant. It recently closed its Saltillo plant, laying off 480 people, and its Verona facility is up for auction.

In November, the PBGC said it would pay $270 million of FBI’s pension costs.

PBGC said it would pay up to the maximum of  $57,500 a year to retired Furniture Brands  employees. The company has about  19,000 current and future retirees. When it filed for Chapter 11, Furniture Brands said it owed $609 million in benefits obligations, but it was only funded about 55 percent, according to PBGC.

In addition, the creditors and PBGC have agreed on a liquidation plan, and if the proceeds are more than $20 million, minus fees and other expenses, then 20 percent of  the PBGC’s share will be made available to unsecured creditors.

A hearing will be held April 28 on the settlement.

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