Bimbo, ConAgra file objections to Hostess motion

by Eric Schroeder
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NEW YORK — Bimbo Bakeries USA (B.B.U.), ConAgra Foods, Inc. and Northeast Foods, Inc. are among several companies that have filed motions in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York requesting the court block Hostess Brands, Inc. motion to withdraw from its multi-employer pension plan. Hostess has requested it be lifted of the burden of paying the funds as it tries to reemerge from bankruptcy.

In its filing, B.B.U. said allowing Hostess Brands to withdraw from the pension funds would shift financial obligations to other contributing employers, including B.B.U. and other competitors of Hostess, causing “a serious adverse economic impact on B.B.U. and every other contributing employer to those (pension funds).”

“B.B.U. believes that the debtors can accomplish the same ends they seek — immediate, meaningful savings allowing for reorganization — without ceasing contributions to and withdrawing from the (pension funds),” B.B.U. said.

B.B.U. pointed out that it “lives with the very same labor costs, collective bargaining agreements, and (pension fund) obligations from with the debtors seek relief.”

In its filing, ConAgra said the complete withdrawal of Hostess from the funds would have “a serious and lasting financial impact” on its operations.

The deadline for members of the plan to submit their filings is tonight.

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