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Sensata Technologies to freeze defined benefit pension plan, boost 401(k)


ATTLEBORO, Mass.—Sensata Technologies Inc., a manufacturer of sensors and other control products, will freeze its defined benefit pension plan and beef up its 401(k) plan.

Pension plan participants no longer will earn benefits in the plan after Jan. 31, 2012. Instead, the company will match 100% of employees’ 401(k) plan contributions, up to the first 4% of pay. It now matches 50% of salary deferrals, up to the first 2% of pay.

“Like many companies, Sensata is facing increasing pension costs as the return on pension investments becomes less certain due to market conditions. Freezing the pension plan limits future liabilities and reduces the volatility of required contributions, which can fluctuate significantly because of changes in interest rates and investment results,” a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Slightly underfunded

The pension plan, which has about 300 active participants, is slightly underfunded with assets of about $54 million and liabilities of about $60 million as of Dec. 31, 2010.

In freezing its pension plan, Sensata, whose U.S. headquarters are in Attleboro, Mass., joins a long list of other companies that have announced plan freezes this year including, most recently, publishing giant McGraw-Hill Cos., which this month announced it would freeze its plan, effective April 1, 2012.