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Visteon to offer lump sums to reduce pension risk

Posted On: Sep. 19, 2012 12:00 AM CST

Visteon to offer lump sums to reduce pension risk

Automotive industry supplier Visteon Corp. disclosed Wednesday that it will offer about 10,000 former employees who are eligible for but not yet receiving monthly pension benefits the opportunity to convert their future annuity to a lump-sum benefit.

Eligible participants will have from Oct. 1 to Nov. 9 to make an election.

The program, which will be funded with pension plan assets, “will reduce Visteon's risk and volatility as well as administrative costs associated with the U.S. defined benefit plan,” the Van Buren Township, Mich.-based company said in an 8-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Visteon's offer, which it said will be made to about half of its 20,000 U.S. pension plan participants, comes on the heels of a similar offer The New York Times Co. announced last week that it is making to about 5,200 plan participants.

Other well-known employers that also have made annuity to lump-sum benefit conversion offers in recent months include Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and NCR Corp.

When pension plan participants take lump-sum benefits and are no longer covered by the plan, their former employers do not have to worry about how interest rate fluctuations and investment results could affect how much they will have to contribute to their pension plans to fund future annuity payments.

In addition, when participants take lump sums and move out of the pension plan, employers can reduce certain fixed costs, such as the payment of sharply rising premiums to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.