Northrop Grumman makes $300 million pension contribution

Northrop Grumman Helicopter
Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Longbow Apache

Northrop Grumman Corp., Falls Church, Va., made a $300 million discretionary contribution to its U.S. defined benefit pension plans in the third quarter, according to the company's earnings release.

The required minimum contribution to Northrop Grumman's pension plans for 2012 was $65 million, but the company contributed $349 million in the first nine months of 2012.

The contribution “more than satisfies” the company's required contribution for 2013, said spokesman Randy Belote in a telephone interview. Mr. Belote said new pension funding rules that were part of the federal highway bill enacted in July could reduce the 2013 required contribution further.

“We have a history of prefunding our pension plans,” Mr. Belote said.

Northrop Grumman also contributed $218 million to its defined contribution plans for the nine months ended Sept. 30.

Northrop Grumman's U.S. defined benefit plans had assets of $21.3 billion as of Dec. 31, 2011, according to the company's 2011 annual report. Defined contribution assets were $13.4 billion as of Sept. 30, 2011, according to Pensions & Investments data, the most recent available.