Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich., contributed $100 million to its worldwide pension funds in the third quarter and a total of $800 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, according to the company's earnings statement. In its 2008 annual 10-K report, filed at the end of February, Ford announced contributions to all its defined benefit plans would total $1.5 billion, down from $1.7 billion in 2008.
Ford spokesman Bill Collins did not return a call seeking further information about the contributions.
Ford's worldwide pension funds totaled $52.8 billion as of Dec. 31, the most recent date available; U.S. plan assets totaled $37.4 billion and non-U.S. plans, $15.4 billion, according to Ford's financial statements. Ford does not break out contributions to its U.S. and non-U.S. plans in its financial statements.
OfficeMax contributes common stock, cash to plans
OfficeMax Inc., Naperville, Ill., made a voluntary contribution of 8.3 million shares of common stock to its defined benefit pension plans, according to a news release.
The company said in an Oct. 30 SEC filing the contribution would be worth roughly $100 million. The stock contribution is expected to eliminate the company's need for a pension contribution in 2010, according to the filing. The pension plans were frozen in 2003.
OfficeMax also made a cash contribution of $5.3 million to the plans on Sept. 26 and plans to make an additional contribution of $1.5 million by the end of the year, bringing its total 2009 cash contribution to $6.8 million. It contributed the same cash amount in 2008.
The pension plans were valued at $841.2 million as of Dec. 31, 2008, and were underfunded by $435 million at that date, according to a separate SEC filing. The company's 401(k) plan was valued at $505 million, as of the same date.
OfficeMax spokesman Bill Bonner did not return calls requesting more information.
State Street settles lawsuit, bulks up legal reserve
State Street Corp. will pay $89.75 million to settle a class-action lawsuit with a group of employee benefit plans invested in certain active fixed-income strategies managed by its SSgA unit, confirmed Arlene Roberts, State Street spokeswoman.
The proposed settlement is subject to court approval.
State Street officials declined to disclose other details about the plans or the case, Ms. Roberts said.
Separately, State Street added $250 million to its legal reserve, raising it to $443 million, to cover potential monetary damages related to losses by investors in certain SSgA active fixed-income strategies, according to a State Street statement.
The company said the increased reserve should be sufficient to cover the potential cost to resolve ongoing litigation as well as proceedings by the SEC and other government authorities.
State Street is still in discussion with the SEC over a Wells notice it received June 25, Ms. Roberts said. The notice warned State Street and its affiliates they may face a civil enforcement action over “possible violations” of securities laws, related to its disclosures and SSgA's management of certain fixed-income strategies up to and during 2007.
SEC spokesman John Heine said SEC officials would neither confirm nor deny any investigation.
Tribune starts new 401(k) plan, spikes ESOP in reorganization
Tribune Co., Chicago, is creating a new 401(k) plan to replace its employee stock ownership plan as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, according to a memo to staff.
The new 401(k) will include a 4% employer match, on up to 6% of pay.
Tribune employees were notified the ESOP would be terminated as the company emerges from bankruptcy; because of the bankruptcy, stock in the plan was recently valued by advisory firm Duff & Phelps as worthless.
Tribune's cash balance plan had $1.8 billion as of Dec. 31, 2008, according to an SEC filing, and its existing 401(k) plan had $2.4 billion as of March 2007, according to the 2009 Money Market Directory.
LACERS extends contract of Progress Investment
The Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System renewed for one year its contract with Progress Investment Management to manage $41.3 million in an emerging manager-of-managers equity portfolio benchmarked to the Russell 3000 Index, said Linda Aparicio, spokeswoman for the $9.1 billion system.
The system originally invested $50 million with Progress in November 2006, which has been “challenged with investment underperformance due to poor manager selection,” according to a memo to the board from Daniel P. Gallagher, CIO.
Because LACERS typically gives managers three to five years to prove themselves, staff recommended a one-year contract extension and negotiated a reduced management fee of 60 basis points, down from 68.
Tate & Lyle looks to freeze its U.K. pension plan
Tate & Lyle PLC officials are considering freezing the company's £732 million ($1.2 billion) U.K. pension plan to future accruals beginning in April 2011, according to an interim financial report.
Company officials have started a 60-day consultation period with employees who are still enrolled in the DB plan, according to the report for the six months ended Sept. 30.
The Tate & Lyle Group Pension Scheme, London, had a £45 million surplus, according to the company's annual report for the year ended March 31. The U.K. defined benefit plan was closed to new entrants in 2002.
J.P. Morgan Chase to reinstate DC match
J.P. Morgan Chase will reinstate its 401(k) company match for its U.S. employees and provide an extra award for lower-paid employees, according to a memo by the bank's human resources director, John Donnelly. The match was suspended earlier this year. According to the memo, after a recent review, “we have decided to provide a full 2009 401(k) match,” as well as a “special award” of $500 early next year to employees globally with total annual cash compensation of less than $60,000.
At the end of 2008, J.P. Morgan Chase had $11.8 billion in defined contribution assets.