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Notice

Grant of Individual Exemptions; Brookshire Brothers, Ltd., et al.

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, Labor.

ACTION:

Grant of individual exemptions.

SUMMARY:

This document contains exemptions issued by the Department of Labor (the Department) from certain of the prohibited transaction restrictions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (the Act) and/or the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (the Code).

Notices were published in the Federal Register of the pendency before the Department of proposals to grant such exemptions. The notices set forth a summary of facts and representations contained in each application for exemption and referred interested persons to the respective applications for a complete statement of the facts and representations. The applications have been available for public inspection at the Department in Washington, DC. The notices also invited interested persons to submit comments on the requested exemptions to the Department. In addition, the notices stated that any interested person might submit a written request that a public hearing be held (where appropriate). The applicants have represented that they have complied with the requirements of the notification to interested persons. No public comments and no requests for a hearing, unless otherwise stated, were received by the Department.

The notices of proposed exemption were issued and the exemptions are being granted solely by the Department because, effective December 31, 1978, section 102 of Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1978, 5 U.S.C. App. 1 (1996), transferred the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury to issue exemptions of the type proposed to the Secretary of Labor.

Statutory Findings

In accordance with section 408(a) of the Act and/or section 4975(c)(2) of the Code and the procedures set forth in 29 CFR Part 2570, Subpart B (55 FR 32836, 32847, August 10, 1990) and based upon the entire record, the Department makes the following findings:

(a) The exemptions are administratively feasible; Start Printed Page 2687

(b) They are in the interests of the plans and their participants and beneficiaries; and

(c) They are protective of the rights of the participants and beneficiaries of the plans.

Brookshire Brothers, Ltd. (Brookshire) Located in Lufkin, Texas

[Prohibited Transaction Exemption 2002-06 Application No. D-10894]

Exemption

Section I. Transaction

The restrictions of section 406(a)(1)(A) through (D) of the Act and the sanctions resulting from the application of section 4975 of the Code, by reason of section 4975(c)(1) (A) through (D) of the Code, shall not apply to the establishment by Brookshire of a minimum price guarantee (the Minimum Price Guarantee) for the valuation and purchase by Brookshire of Profit Sharing Stock owned by the Brookshire Brothers Employee Stock Ownership Plan (the ESOP), provided the conditions set forth in Section II are satisfied:

Section II. Conditions

A. The ESOP shall pay no consideration, interest or other fee or expense in connection with the Minimum Price Guarantee.

B. The Minimum Price Guarantee shall expire on the first date after December 22, 1999 upon which the fair market value of a share of the Profit Sharing Stock exceeds the minimum price per share established by the Minimum Price Guarantee.

Section III. Definitions

A. The term “Brookshire” means Brookshire Brothers, Ltd., a Texas limited partnership with headquarters in Lufkin, Texas.

B. The term “Profit Sharing Plan” means the Brookshire Brothers Profit Sharing Plan, as amended and restated effective April 30, 1988.

C. The term “Profit Sharing Stock” means approximately 600,182 shares of the common stock of Brookshire Brothers Holding, Inc., Brookshire's parent company, transferred from the Profit Sharing Plan to the ESOP on November 19, 1999.

D. The term “Minimum Price Guarantee” means the guarantee established pursuant to the ESOP whereby the value of the Profit Sharing Stock will be equal to the price of such stock prior to December 22, 1999 plus a 4% annual increase.

For a more complete statement of the facts and representations supporting the Department's decision to grant this exemption, refer to the notice of proposed exemption (the Notice) published on September 7, 2001 at 66 FR 46837.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

The exemption is effective as of November 19, 1999.

Written Comments

The Department received one comment letter with respect to the Notice. The comment letter was submitted by the Applicant's legal counsel, and concerned a typographical error in the Notice. The comment stated that the Profit Sharing Stock was transferred from the Profit Sharing Plan to the ESOP on November 19, 1999, rather than December 19, 1999 as stated in the Notice. Accordingly, the Applicant noted the following corrections:

First, Section III.C. would be restated to read as follows: “The term ‘Profit Sharing Stock’ means approximately 600,182 shares of the common stock of Brookshire Brothers Holding, Inc., Brookshire's parent company, transferred from the Profit Sharing Plan to the ESOP on November 19, 1999.”

Second, the effective date of the exemption would be changed from December 19, 1999 to November 19, 1999.

Third, the second sentence of paragraph 3 of the Summary of Facts and Representations would read as follows: “As of November 19, 1999, the Profit Sharing Plan held approximately 600,182 shares of the common stock (the Stock) of Brookshire Brothers Holding, Inc. (Holding), Brookshire's parent company.”

Finally, the first sentence of paragraph 4 of the Summary of Facts and Representations would read as follows: “On November 19, 1999, the Stock was transferred from the Profit Sharing Plan to the ESOP.”

The Department concurs with the Applicant's comment and has modified the language of the final exemption accordingly.

After giving full consideration to the entire record, including the written comment, the Department has decided to grant the exemption as modified herein.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Karen Lloyd of the Department, telephone (202) 693-8540. (This is not a toll-free number).

Ford Motor Company (Ford) Located in Dearborn, Michigan

[Prohibited Transaction Exemption 2002-07; Exemption Application No. L-10937]

Exemption

The restrictions of section 406(a) and 406(b) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) shall not apply, effective August 4, 2000, to: (1) the receipt by the Ford-UAW Benefits Trust (the VEBA) of approximately $2.9 billion of certain securities (the Partnership Securities) pursuant to the redemption (the Redemption) by the VEBA of its interest in the Ford Enhanced Investment Partnership and the Ford Super-Enhanced Investment Partnership (collectively, the Partnerships); and (2) the transfer of the Partnership Securities by the VEBA to Ford in exchange for the transfer of approximately $2.9 billion of certain securities (the Ford-Owned Securities) to the VEBA (the Exchange), provided that the following conditions were met:

(a) The terms of the Redemption and the terms of the Exchange were at least as favorable to the VEBA as the terms that would have been available in arm's-length transactions between unrelated parties;

(b) The total value of the Partnership Securities received by the VEBA pursuant to the Redemption equaled the value of the VEBA's pro rata interest in the Partnerships on the date of the Redemption;

(c) The net asset value of the VEBA's interest in the Partnerships and each Partnership Security received by the VEBA pursuant to the Redemption were valued in the same manner using August 4, 2000 close-of-market bid prices as determined by an independent, recognized pricing service;

(d) In the case of the Exchange, the VEBA received Ford-Owned Securities equal in value to the Partnership Securities transferred to Ford;

(e) Each Partnership Security transferred to Ford by the VEBA pursuant to the Exchange was valued according to its August 4, 2000 close-of-market bid price as determined by an independent, recognized pricing service;

(f) Each Ford-Owned Security transferred to the VEBA by Ford pursuant to the Exchange was valued according to its August 4, 2000 close-of-market bid price as determined by an independent, recognized pricing service, or to the extent that a price could not be obtained in this manner, such security was priced according to Start Printed Page 2688the average of three (or a minimum of two) August 4, 2000 close-of-market bid prices obtained from independent market-makers;

(g) The Ford-Owned Securities transferred to the VEBA pursuant to the Exchange were not issued by Ford and were comprised solely of cash and marketable short-term debt securities under the management of unrelated, independent investment managers;

(h) The Partnership Securities transferred to Ford pursuant to the Exchange were comprised solely of cash and marketable short-term debt securities;

(i) Upon the completion of the Exchange, no single issue of Ford-Owned Securities accounted for more than 25% of the assets of the VEBA;

(j) State Street Bank and Trust Company (SSBT), acting as an independent fiduciary on behalf the VEBA, monitored the Redemption and the Exchange; and

(k) SSBT, as independent fiduciary, approved the Redemption and the Exchange upon determining that the Redemption and the Exchange were in the best interests of the VEBA and its participants.

For a more complete statement of the facts and representations supporting the Department's decision to grant this exemption, refer to the Notice of Proposed Exemption published on September 27, 2001 at 66 FR 49415.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Christopher Motta of the Department, telephone (202) 693-8544 (This is not a toll-free number).

General Information

The attention of interested persons is directed to the following:

(1) The fact that a transaction is the subject of an exemption under section 408(a) of the Act and/or section 4975(c)(2) of the Code does not relieve a fiduciary or other party in interest or disqualified person from certain other provisions to which the exemptions does not apply and the general fiduciary responsibility provisions of section 404 of the Act, which among other things require a fiduciary to discharge his duties respecting the plan solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries of the plan and in a prudent fashion in accordance with section 404(a)(1)(B) of the Act; nor does it affect the requirement of section 401(a) of the Code that the plan must operate for the exclusive benefit of the employees of the employer maintaining the plan and their beneficiaries;

(2) These exemptions are supplemental to and not in derogation of, any other provisions of the Act and/or the Code, including statutory or administrative exemptions and transactional rules. Furthermore, the fact that a transaction is subject to an administrative or statutory exemption is not dispositive of whether the transaction is in fact a prohibited transaction; and

(3) The availability of these exemptions is subject to the express condition that the material facts and representations contained in each application accurately describes all material terms of the transaction which is the subject of the exemption.

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Signed at Washington, DC, this 15th day of January, 2002.

Ivan Strasfeld,

Director of Exemption Determinations, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, Department of Labor.

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[FR Doc. 02-1365 Filed 1-17-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4510-29-P