DaimlerChrysler AG, Stuttgart, had a 5.8 billion euro ($7.4 billion) global pension shortfall at the end of 2003, down from a shortfall of 8.4 billion euros a year earlier, helped by improved equity market performance and the company's total 2003 plan contributions of 2.1 billion euros, according to the company's annual report filed today with the SEC. Pension plans for employees outside of Germany — primarily those in the United States — earned 23% in 2003, while plans for employees in Germany earned 14.6%, according to the report.
The company does not expect to substantially increase its cash contributions to the plans in the near term, the company said. A 2004 pension expense of 800 million euros is expected, equal to last year's, the report said. DaimlerChrysler had global pension assets of 26.3 billion euros on Dec. 31, the company said.