U.S. corporations plan to contribute some $32 billion to their global pension funds this year, according to Pensions & Investments' analysis of individual companies that announced contributions of at least $100 million.
Among the 58 companies P&I reviewed, six said they would contribute more than $1 billion each and another 11 companies said they would contribute between $500 million and $1 billion in 2018, based on 10-K filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission through March 14. Those 58 companies contributed a total of $34.2 billion to their global pension funds in 2017, at least $8 billion of which took place in the fourth quarter.
This year's review covered 99% of S&P 500 companies that have filed their annual 10-K statements.
General Electric Co., Boston, promised the largest contribution of the companies reviewed, announcing in an investor update in November that it planned to contribute $6 billion to the GE Pension Plan, its primary U.S. plan, in 2018. According to its newly filed 10-K, GE contributed a total of $2 billion to its pension plans in 2017 and had a U.S. plan funding ratio of 67.2% as of Dec. 31, up from 64.2% the previous year.
Lockheed Martin Corp., Bethesda, Md., said it will contribute $5 billion to its U.S. defined benefit plans in 2018 after contributing $46 million in 2017. Lockheed Martin said in its 10-K filing it will not have to make any further contributions until 2021. As of Dec. 31, the company's U.S. plan funding ratio was 68%, down from 69.7% the previous year.
And FedEx Corp., Memphis, Tenn., plans to contribute $1.75 billion to its U.S. defined benefit plans in 2018. In its previous fiscal year, FedEx contributed $2 billion. As of May 31, 2017, FedEx's U.S. defined benefit plans had a funding ratio of 89.5%, up from 82.8% the previous year.