General Electric Co. said in a 10-K filed Friday that its principal pension plans had an unfunded liability of $18.4 billion as of Dec. 31, more than double the $7.1 billion reported a year earlier.
The Stamford, Conn., company's projected benefit obligation for those plans — the GE Pension Plan and the GE Supplementary Pension Plan — increased $8.5 billion during the year, $6.8 billion of which was “principally associated with discount rate changes,” according to the 10-K.
The discount rate used to calculate benefit obligations fell to 4.21% from 5.28% a year earlier. The expected return on plan assets remained unchanged at 8%.
The fair value of the company's defined benefit assets was down 5.9% in 2011 to $42.1 billion as of Dec. 31, from $44.8 billion a year earlier. Asset allocation as of Dec. 31 was 44.7% equities, 26.4% fixed income, 16.1% private equity, 7.8% real estate and 5% cash and other.
As previously reported by P&I Daily, the company plans to contribute approximately $1 billion to the GE Pension Plan in 2012.