Belo and A.H. Belo splitting pension plan


The TV company Belo Corporation and the newspaper company A.H. Belo Corporation used to be one, but split in 2008. Now they’re also separating their employee pension plan.

If you joined either company recently you aren’t even part of The G.B. Dealey Retirement Pension Plan – the defined benefits plan was closed to most new entrants in 2000 and its benefits were frozen in 2007. But it dates back to 1943 and some 9,300 current and former employees are covered by the plan.

Under terms of the 2008 company split, Belo Corp. (technically the surviving company which spun out the newspaper group) remained the sole sponsor and administrator of the pension plan, but A.H. Belo was required to reimburse Belo Corp. for 60% of each contribution made to the pension plan.

Come January 1, 2011 the pension plan will be split. The benefit liabilities and assets allocable to some 5,100 current and former employees of the newspaper business will be transferred into two new defined benefit pension plans to be managed by A.H. Belo, which will be thereafter solely responsible for any funding contributions. Likewise, Belo Corp. will then be solely responsible for managing and funding the old pension plan and its 4,200 beneficiaries.

For retired employees of either company and people who are expecting retirement benefits from them, both Belo Corp. and A.H. Belo advise that the plan split will “not change the amount of the benefits any participant has accrued or is currently receiving.”

RBR-TVBR observation: For you younger readers, an employer-managed defined benefits plan is the type of retirement plan that was common back in the olden days before 401(k) plans were invented.