Stroh Cos. Inc. has asked the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. to take over its defined benefit plan.
Mark Tuttle, Stroh's vice president and chief financial officer, said in an interview that the company's SBC Holdings subsidiary filed for a distress termination on Nov. 8 for the SBC Holdings Inc. Salaried Employees Pension Plan, which had $140 million in assets as of Sept. 30.
Stroh Cos. Chairman John W. Stroh III said in a statement that the company is making the move to protect plan participants and the company's financial viability. Low interest rates have forced the company to liquidate assets to make the required contributions to the pension fund, and that continued pressure “threatens the ability of The Stroh Companies to stay in business at some point in the future,” Mr. Stroh said. “This proactive move will head off significant financial difficulties.”
J. Jioni Palmer, PBGC acting chief policy officer, said in an e-mailed statement that the agency will “perform an exhaustive review of their finances to ensure there's no way to preserve the plan. If we have to, we'll step in and provide the safety net mandated by our mission and pay retirement benefits” for an estimated 3,000 former employees. The Detroit-based company no longer brews beer but manages real estate and other investments.