Three pension plan sponsors have announced contributions for their defined benefit plans.
• Continental Airlines Inc., Houston, plans to contribute $258 million to its defined benefit plans in 2006, according to its annual report filed Feb. 23 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company, which has $1.4 billion in pension assets, also plans to contribute about $1.54 billion over the next 10 years to meet its minimum pension funding obligations in addition to the expected 2006 contribution, including: $318 million in 2007, $376 million in 2008, $262 million in 2009, $98 million in 2010 and $242 million in later years, according to the filing. The contribution forecast is based on the company's current return assumption of 9% and assumes no legislative changes in pension funding requirements. The pension plans' underfunded status declined to $1.2 billion at the end of 2005 from $1.6 billion at the end of 2004, according to the filing.
• Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, Ill., plans to contribute $200 million to $400 million annually to its main domestic pension plan through 2011, according to its most recent 10-K filing. The company contributed $641 million in 2005 and $482 million in 2004.
Abbott had nearly $3.4 billion in defined benefit assets as of Sept. 30, 2005, and reported $3.7 billion in pension obligations as of Dec. 31, 2004.
• BAE Systems, London, will contribute £110 million ($192 million) in cash and transfer £240 million in property assets to its pension plans, according to the company's preliminary annual results. The capital will be used to reduce a £2.4 billion pension deficit, one of the largest among FTSE 100 companies. BAE Systems had £10.8 billion in U.K. pension assets as of Dec. 31. The contribution will go toward the company's main plan, said spokeswoman Lisa Hillary-Tee, who declined to provide the asset size of the plan.