Ford Motor Co.'s funding levels for its U.S. pension plans rose slightly in 2012, as declining interest rates largely offset strong investment gains.
At year-end 2012, the pension plans for the Dearborn, Mich.-based company, had a funding ratio of 81.3%, with $42.4 billion in assets and $52.1 billion in liabilities. That compares with a funding ratio of 80.7% at year-end 2011, when the U.S. plans had $39.4 billion in assets and $48.8 billion in liabilities, the automaker disclosed earlier this week in its 10-K annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Ford in 2012 settled $1.2 billion of its U.S. pension plan obligations with a trailblazing program it unveiled in April, in which it offered about 90,000 U.S. salaried retirees and former employees the opportunity to convert their monthly pension annuity into a lump-sum cash payment.
Since Ford disclosed that program, about a dozen other major employers have launched similar annuity-to-lump-sum-benefit conversion programs.
Ford said it is continuing its own conversion offer program.
Jerry Geisel writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Pensions & Investments.