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A.H. Belo to offer lump sums to 30% of vested participants

Belo printing press

Updated with correction

A.H. Belo Corp., Dallas, is offering lump-sum payments to about 30% of vested participants in its two defined benefit plans, confirmed Alison Engel, senior vice president and CFO.

The lump-sum offers are only to participants that have benefits with a present value of $30,000 or less. A.H. Belo will make automatic distributions to some participants with less than $5,000, Ms. Engel said in a telephone interview.

About 1,500 participants will receive the offer or the distribution.

A.H. Belo is looking to reduce plan expenses, Ms. Engel said. The company does not have any estimates for how many people will accept the offer, but Ms. Engel said if every participant accepts lump sums, it will reduce the pension plans' assets by $20 million and liabilities by $24 million.

The defined benefits plans had a combined $274.9 million in assets and $420.9 million in liabilities, for a 65.3% funded status as of Dec. 31, according to the most recent 10-K filing. The plans were closed to new participants in 2000 and frozen in 2007.

The newspaper publishing company should know how many participants will accept lump sums by the end of November, said David Gross, vice president, financial planning and strategic analysis.