The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. today announced it took over the underfunded pension plan of Weirton Steel Corp., Weirton, W.Va. The plan has assets of $530 million and liabilities of $1.35 billion; the PBGC estimates it will be liable for $697 million in benefits. The PBGC acted to avoid incurring an additional $147 million in shutdown benefits, which are typically unfunded liabilities. The company, which is under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, reacted with dismay at the PBGC action. "It is very disappointing that we've reached this point. Both the company and the Independent Steelworkers Union have been aware that the plan was at risk and have explored every avenue available to save the pension plan," said D. Leonard Wise, Weirton CEO.