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DEFINED BENEFIT

Ford ratchets up $1 billion contribution to non-U.S. pension plans for 2017

Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich., expects to contribute $1 billion to its non-U.S. defined benefit plans in 2017, showed the firm's 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission released Thursday.

The automaker will also make about $300 million of benefit payments to Ford employees in unfunded non-U.S. pension plans.

“Based on current assumptions and regulations, we do not expect to have a legal requirement to contribute to our major U.S. pension plans in 2017,” Ford said in the 10-K.

Ford contributed $1.2 billion to its worldwide pension plans in 2016.

Ford's non-U.S. defined benefit plans totaled $25.55 billion as of Dec. 31, up 1.6% as of the same date the previous year. Aggregate U.S. plan assets were $41.94 billion as of year-end 2016, an increase of 1.7% over the prior year, according to the 10-K.

The carmaker's benefit obligation in 2016 for its non-U.S. defined benefit plans was $29.64 billion, resulting in a funding ratio of 86.2%. The 2016 benefit obligation for U.S. pension plans was $44.94 billion, for a funding ratio of 93.3%.

The 2016 discount rate for the company's non-U.S. plans was lowered to 2.44% from 3.2% and the U.S. plans' discount rate dropped to 4.03% in 2016 from 4.27%.