Boeing Co., Chicago, made a $1.4 billion discretionary contribution to its pension plans in the third quarter, bringing total contributions for first nine months of the year to $1.8 billion, the company reported in an SEC filing today. Company officials plan to contribute $500 million to the pension plans in 2006, including an estimated required contribution of less than $50 million. They will consider additional discretionary contributions next year, the filing said. The company made $3.6 billion in pension contributions in 2004. Boeing's pension asset returns exceeded 14% for the year ended Sept. 30, "well above the company's 8.5% expected rate of return," according to the report. The company is likely to keep the 8.5% return assumption for 2006, James Bell, CFO, said in a webcast today. Because of the decline in long-term interest rates this year, however, company officials expect to lower the discount rate used to value pension liabilities to 5.5% for 2006 from 5.75%, the report said.
Boeing has $41 billion in pension assets, according to a Pensions & Investments report in April. As of Sept. 30, 2004, it had $42.7 billion in pension liabilities, according to its 10-K report.