Eleven U.S. corporations plan to contribute up to $5.46 billion to their pension plans in 2010 — a decline from $7.03 billion the year before.
However, when Chicago-based Boeing Co. is pulled from the list, the numbers change radically. Excluding Boeing, which made a massive $1.5 billion contribution in company stock to its pension fund in November, the total expected contributions for the 10 remaining companies are virtually flat compared with their 2009 contribution levels.
The biggest increase in contributions is coming from U.S. Steel Corp., Pittsburgh, which plans to contribute a total of about $570 million to its defined benefit, retiree health-care and life insurance plans in 2010, according to the company's fourth-quarter earnings report.
In 2009, the company contributed $140 million to its DB plans. U.S. Steel had $7.887 billion in defined benefit assets as of Sept. 30, according to a Pensions & Investments estimate.
Here's a summary of expected contributions for 2010.
Boeing plans to contribute less than $100 million to its pension plans this year, according to a company financial report. The company didn't specify an amount, said Todd H. Blecher, Boeing spokesman.
In November, Boeing contributed 29.1 million shares of its stock, valued then at $1.5 billion. It also contributed $82 million in cash last year. Boeing had $43.6 billion in pension assets as of Sept. 30, according to P&I data.
Its pension plans were an aggregate 88% funded as of Dec. 31, up from 83% funded at the end of the 2008, the improvement due to investment performance and contributions, Mr. Blecher said.
Lockheed Martin Corp., Bethesda, Md., announced plans to contribute $1.4 billion to its defined benefit pension trust in 2010.
The company made a discretionary cash contribution of $1.5 billion to its pension trust in the fourth quarter of 2009, $500 million above the $1 billion it said it planned to contribute in October 2009.
Lockheed Martin's defined benefit pension plans were valued at a combined $20.8 billion as of Sept. 30.
Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Ill., expects to contribute another $1 billion to its worldwide defined benefit plans in 2010, according to its fourth-quarter earnings report.
The company contributed $1.1 billion last year, through a combination of cash and company stock that included 18.2 million of Caterpillar shares, valued at $650 million, in May. The contribution and “strong asset returns, including the appreciation of Caterpillar stock, contributed to the increase in funded status” to 76% as of Dec. 31, up from 61% at year-end 2008, according to the earnings release.
Caterpillar's U.S. defined benefit plans totaled $8.8 billion as of Sept. 30. Worldwide pension assets totaled $8.9 billion as of Dec. 31, 2008, the most recent figure available from its 2009 annual report.
St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M will contribute between $500 million and $700 million to its global defined benefit plans in 2010, Patrick D. Campbell, senior vice president and CFO, said during the firm's earnings call.
The company contributed $600 million to the company's U.S. defined benefit plan in the third quarter and $500 million to its non-U.S. defined benefit plans in the fourth quarter, confirmed 3M spokeswoman Jacqueline Berry.
The funded ratio of the company's U.S. defined benefit plans was 96% and 83% for its non-U.S. plans, both as of Dec. 31, she said.
3M's U.S. defined benefit plan totaled $10.5 billion as of Sept. 30. Non-U.S. plans totaled $3 billion as of Dec. 31, 2008, according to 3M's most recent 10-K filing.
Schlumberger Ltd., Houston, expects to contribute between $500 million and $600 million to its pension plans this year, according to the company's 10-K report released Feb. 5. That's about half of what it contributed in 2009.
Information was unavailable on how the contribution would be split between its $2.2 billion U.S. defined benefit fund and $2.9 billion international defined benefit fund.
Kit Hopkins, director-trust investments, couldn't be reached for comment.
The company contributed $1.1 billion to its DB plans and $418 million to its defined contribution plans last year. Its U.S. defined contribution plan had $2.1 billion in assets, according to a P&I estimate.
As of Dec. 31, its U.S. plan was 92% funded and international plan, 85% funded, according to the 10-K.
Alcoa Inc., Pittsburgh, plans to contribute up to $600 million in Alcoa common stock to its U.S. defined benefit pension plans in the first quarter, confirmed Alcoa spokesman Mike Belwood.
Mr. Belwood said the common stock is the only expected contribution to the pension plans, increasing their funded status to more than 80%, as required by the Pension Protection Act.
Alcoa contributed $128 million in cash to the DB plans in 2009.
The company had $6.8 billion in U.S. defined benefit assets as of Dec. 31, Mr. Belwood said.
General Dynamics Corp., Falls Church, Va., plans to contribute about $270 million to its pension plans in 2010, according to the firm's earnings conference call.
The company contributed $250 million to its pension plans in 2009.
The company had $4.8 billion in defined benefit assets as of Dec. 31, 2008, the most recent data available, according to its 10-K.
NCR Corp., Dayton, Ohio, plans to contribute $110 million to its international and executive defined benefit pension plans in 2010, according to an SEC filing.
The company contributed $83 million to the plans in 2009, according to the filing.
The plans were valued at a combined $2.2 billion as of Dec. 31, 2008, according to P&I.
The plans were underfunded by $1 billion as of Dec. 31, an improvement of $149 million from Dec. 31, 2008, according to the filing.
An NCR spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Fortune Brands Inc., Deerfield, Ill., will contribute 1.6 million shares of stock to its U.S. defined benefit pension plans the first week of February, confirmed Fortune spokesman C. Clarkson Hine.
Individual shares were valued at $40.06 in midday trading Feb. 5, which puts the contribution value at $64 million.
“We clearly see this as an excellent value for our pension plans,” Craig P. Omtvedt, senior vice president and CFO, said Jan. 29 in a conference call, noting the contribution would eliminate the need for “further significant funding this year.”
The company's U.S. defined benefit pension plans were valued around $700 million, as of Dec. 31, Mr. Hine said.
Avery Dennison Corp., Pasadena, Calif., expects to contribute about $25 million to its $387 million U.S. pension plans, the same contribution as in 2009, according to a Jan. 29 earnings call.
The company also plans to contribute about $25 million to its $325 million international pension plans, up from the $23 million contribution it made last year.