Dow Chemical Co. expects to contribute from $700 million to $800 million to its U.S. defined benefit plan this year, while International Paper Co., said it put $1.15 billion into its DB plan in 2010.
In 2010, Midland, Mich.-based Dow made a required $300 million contribution and a voluntary $400 million contribution to the U.S. defined benefit plan, William H. Weideman, executive vice president and CFO, said during an earnings conference call Thursday. The plan had $10.5 billion in assets as of Sept. 30, according to Pensions & Investments data.
Mr. Weideman noted that “due to improved asset returns, we are now anticipating contributing only about $200 million in the first quarter,” according to a transcript of the call.
He said Dow's pension expenses will remain at about $500 million in 2011, the same as in 2010. “2011 vs. 2010 will be very similar both in terms of pension expansion, pension contributions,” Mr. Weideman said.
David Johnson, an investor relations spokesman for Dow, did not return a call seeking further details.
At International Paper, Memphis, Tenn., two separate contributions for the year —$650 million and $500 million — were made in the third quarter, said spokesman Tom Ryan. A further contribution in 2011 is possible, although it is not required.
International Paper had $8 billion in U.S. DB assets as of Sept. 30, according to Pensions & Investments data. The company reported $6.8 billion in plan assets and $9.5 billion in projected benefit obligations as of Dec. 31, 2009, according to the firm's most recent 10-K.