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Defense contractor to freeze salaried employees' pension plan in 2016

Defense contractor to freeze salaried employees' pension plan in 2016

Exelis Inc. will completely freeze its defined benefit pension plan covering salaried employees at the end of 2016 to complete a process it began in 2011, the McLean, Va.-based defense contractor said.

In an 8-K filing last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Exelis said benefit accruals will stop after Dec. 31, 2016.

The pension plan “represents a large liability for the company and sunsetting the plan at the end of 2016 is one of the broad range of proactive steps we are taking to help Exelis continue to be competitive and generate value for our shareholders in the long term,” an Exelis spokesman said.

Before entirely freezing the salaried employee plan, Exelis said employees hired after Sept. 30, 2011, would not be eligible to participate in the plan. Also in 2011, eligible participants were given a choice of accruing future benefits in the plan or receiving enhanced employer contributions to the company's 401(k) plan effective Jan. 1, 2012. At year-end 2012, the plan was significantly underfunded with $5.4 billion in liabilities and $3.8 billion in assets, according to Exelis' most recent 10-K report.

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