Falcon Products Inc.'s Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection hearing to consider the termination of the company's three pension plans was postponed, according to court papers. Judge Barry S. Schermer of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis on Tuesday signed an order moving the hearing to Oct. 6 after Falcon Products, St. Louis, filed a motion requesting the delay so the company could continue settlement discussions with the PBGC. Court documents did not provide details of the settlement discussions.
Jeff Krause, an attorney representing Falcon Products and a principal with Stutman Treister & Glatt, said the company is providing the PBGC with added information so the agency can determine whether termination would be appropriate. The two parties would subsequently discuss the PBGC's claims in the Chapter 11 case, Mr. Krause said.
Jeffrey Speicher, a PBGC spokesman, said he did not have details on the "parameters or the timeline of the settlement talks" with Falcon Products. Shari Hannick, assistant to Falcon Products CFO Neal Restivo, said officials are not commenting while the company remains in Chapter 11 reorganization.
The termination request said the company's proposed reorganization plan is conditioned "on the elimination of all or virtually all of (the company's) unsecured obligations, including the underfunding obligation to the pension plans." The company, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, received court approval of the reorganization plan's disclosure statement Aug. 29; a confirmation hearing is slated for Oct. 6.
The three pension plans had a combined $28.6 million in assets as of Nov. 1, 2003, according to the company's most recent annual report. The plans are underfunded by $33.8 million, according to court papers.