Verizon Communications Inc., New York, expects to contribute $266 million to its pension funds this year, according to its 10-K filing. Verizon reported pension assets of $42.8 billion and liabilities of $41 billion at the end of 2003, compared with assets of $38.7 billion and liabilities of $37.9 billion a year earlier. However, pension income was $209 million last year, down from $1.6 billion in 2002, because of the decline in interest rates and a lower rate of return in 2003 - 8.5%, down from 9.25% in 2002.
Also, 55.9% of Verizon's pension assets were in stocks as of Dec. 31, down from 59.6% at the end of 2002, and 17.3% of assets were in fixed income, down from 22.4%. The company had 3.3% invested in real estate in 2003, down from 4.5% in 2002, and 23.5% invested in "other" strategies, including private equity, absolute return strategies and cash, up from 13.5%.