Several pension funds disclosed information about their pension funds in recent filings with the SEC. They include the following:
• Ford Motor Corp., Dearborn, Mich., plans to make a voluntary contribution of $2.8 billion to its pension plans in 2005, according to the company's 10-K filing. It contributed $2.2 billion in 2004 and $2.8 billion in 2003. As of Dec. 31, Ford's U.S. defined benefit plans totaled $39.6 billion. Non-U.S. retirement plans totaled $20.6 billion, according to the filing. The company does not expect to have to pay any variable-rate premiums for its major defined benefit plans to the PBGC this year.
Ford's assumed rate of return is 8.75% for U.S. pension plans; 8% for U.K. plans; and an average 7.76% for other non-U.S. plans. The company's annualized 10-year return as of Dec. 31 was 11.2% for U.S. plans and 8.4% for U.K. plans, according to the filing.
• Verizon Communications Inc., Stamford, Conn., expects an increase in pension expense of at least $276 million in 2005, based on an assumed discount rate of 5.75%, according to its annual financial filings with the SEC today. The increase is based on the 2.76 billion in outstanding shares. The company assumed a discount rate of 6.25% in 2004.
Verizon reported a pension expense of $960 million in 2004 and pension income of $212 million in 2003, according to the filing. The company had $39.1 billion in pension assets at year end.
• ITT Corp., White Plains, N.Y., will contribute $102.4 million to its $5.3 billion pension fund in the first quarter of 2005, according to the firm's 10-K filing. ITT officials estimate the company will not have to make additional contributions through 2007. It contributed $120.1 million to the fund in 2004.
• Wyeth, Madison, N.J., plans to contribute $180 million to its $3.9 billion defined benefit plans this year, according to the pharmaceutical company's 2004 annual report, filed with the SEC today. In 2004, the company contributed about $273 million.
• Wells Fargo & Co., San Francisco, is using a 9% expected rate of return on pension plan assets, according to its most recent 10-K filing. Over the last two decades, plan assets have earned an average annualized rate of return higher than 9%, the filing said. Additionally, the company lowered its discount rate to 6% in 2004 from 6.5% in 2003 and 7% in 2002, "reflecting the decline in market interest rates during these periods." The projected benefit obligation for qualified plans at the end of 2004 totaled $3.7 billion, compared with $3.4 billion the prior year. The firm contributed $580 million to its cash balance plan in 2004.
• Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif., contributed $540 million to its pension plans during the three months ended Jan. 31, according to the company's Friday 10-Q filing for its fiscal 2005 first quarter. Hewlett-Packard plans to contribute an additional $320 million during the remainder of fiscal 2005, the filing said. The firm contributed $564 million to its pension plans in fiscal 2004, according to the company's annual report for the year ended Oct. 31, 2004. At the time, company officials estimated the total fiscal 2005 contribution at $850 million.
Hewlett-Packard's U.S. pension plans had roughly $3.2 billion in assets, while its non-U.S. plans had $5.9 billion in assets as of the Sept. 30 measurement date.
Don Gentile, spokesman, did not return a call seeking comment by press time.