Time Warner Cable reports $150 million contribution for quarter

Time Warner Cable Inc., New York, contributed $150 million to its pension plans during the third quarter, bringing the company's pension contributions for the first nine months of the year to $152 million, according to Time Warner's third-quarter conference call Monday.

The company contributed $79 million through the first nine months of 2011.

The company's pension plans were underfunded by $500 million, Irene M. Esteves, executive vice president and CFO, said during the conference call.

Ms. Esteves said the company is likely to make additional pension contributions during the fourth quarter, but that “we don't feel it's advisable to reach a fully funded status at year-end given the current environment and historically low interest rates.”

The fair value of the firm's pension plan assets as of Dec. 31, 2011, was $2.92 billion, with an unfunded amount of $50 million.

The increase in the plans' unfunded amount since the start of the year is largely because of depressed interest rates. The discount rate used to determine benefit obligations was 5.9% as of Dec. 31. As of Oct. 1, the average yield on Moody's AA Corporate Bond index — which historically has been widely used as a proxy for corporate pension discount rates — stood at 3.61%.

The asset allocation as of Dec. 31, 2011, was 51.8% equities; 46.8% fixed income and 1.4% cash and other investments.