Delta Air Lines Inc., Atlanta, expects to contribute about $600 million to its U.S. defined benefit plans in 2011, according to an SEC filing.
In 2010, the company contributed $728 million to the pension plans. The company's defined benefit assets increased 8.2% to $8.25 billion as of Dec. 31, from $7.62 billion a year ago, according to the filing.
The plan’s funded status improved to 47.12% from 44.76% at year end, while the discount rate was 5.69%, down from 5.93% a year earlier.
As of Dec. 31, the plan’s asset allocation was 57.4% to equities; 20.2% combined to private equity, real estate and natural resources; 17.8% to fixed income; and 4.6% to cash.
Greg Tahvonen, director-retirement plans and global compensation, was traveling on company business and was not able to respond to an e-mail requesting comment by press time.
Separately, Deere & Co., Moline, Ill., plans to contribute about $100 million to its defined benefit defined benefit pension and other post-employment benefit plans this year, down 67% from its previous forecast of $300 million, according to a company report Wednesday.
Ken Golden, director, global public reputation strategy, said company officials wouldn’t break out the expected contribution to its pension plans, whose combined assets are $9.5 billion.
In its previous forecast, released Dec. 17, Deere planned to contribute $283 million to its pension plans and $33 million to its retiree health-care and life insurance plans in 2011.
In its fiscal year 2010, which ended Oct. 31, Deere contributed $763 million to its pension plans and $73 million to its other non-pension retirement benefits plans.
Also, Principal Financial Group Inc., Des Moines, Iowa, may contribute $60 million to $90 million to its U.S. defined benefit pension plans in 2011, according to an SEC filing. The company’s defined benefit assets increased 13.4% to $1.42 billion as of Dec. 31 from $1.25 billion a year earlier.
The plan’s funded status improved to 73.3% from 69.6%. The discount rate as of Dec. 31 was 5.65% down from 6% a year ago, according to the filing.
As of Dec. 31, the plan’s asset allocation was 68.1% equities, 23.4% fixed income, 6% direct real estate investments and 2.5% REITs.
When asked about the wide range of the estimated 2011 contribution, Susan Houser, director media relations, said in an e-mail that “this estimate is very consistent with prior years’ contributions. The funding level can vary based on many factors such as market and other economic conditions, salaries, staff size, etc. (thus the range, which in reality is small relative to the present value of the pension plan).”