Europe's 50 largest public companies reported a combined pension deficit of €136 billion ($173.57 billion) for the year ended Dec. 31, up from €116 billion in 2004, according to U.K. actuaries Lane Clarke & Peacock.
The average deficit was highest in Spain and Germany, where pension plans have traditionally been unfunded, said LCP Partner Alex Waite.
BT Group PLC, London, and DaimlerChrysler AG, Stuttgart, Germany, reported the highest levels of pension liabilities as a percentage of market capitalization at 195% and 102%, respectively, as of Dec. 31. At that time, BT's deficit was €6.9 billion, and DaimlerChrysler's deficit was €7.1 billion.
Royal Philips Electronics NV, Eindhoven, Netherlands, also had a large liability — 65% of the company's market capitalization, with a deficit of €304 million for 2005.
Employer contributions for all 50 companies rose to a combined €29 billion in 2005, from €21 billion in 2004.
The survey is based on annual reports of the companies comprising the Dow Jones STOXX 50 index.