Ashland Inc., Covington, Ky., plans on committing a total of $170 million to its worldwide pension plans in its fiscal year ending Sept. 30, confirmed spokesman Gary Rhodes.
The chemical company contributed $110 million to its U.S. pension plan in the first nine months of the fiscal year along with $22 million to the non-U.S. pension plans; it plans on contributing $31 million and $7 million to the U.S. and non-U.S. pension plans in the fourth quarter, respectively, Mr. Rhodes said in an e-mail.
Ashland contributed $40 million more than it planned last quarter in “catch-up funding related to ERISA requirements for 2011,” Mr. Rhodes wrote.
Ashland's global pension plans had about $3 billion in assets and was 71% funded as of Sept. 30, according to its most recent 10-K filing. Mr. Rhodes said about 84% of the projected benefit obligation is for the U.S. pension plan.
The company has not released its projected contributions for 2013. However, Mr. Rhodes said “it appears that a potentially meaningful reduction in our pension funding requirement may result” from the recently passed federal highway bill.