Bethlehem Takes $1.1 Billion Pension Charge

January 22, 2003 ( - Bethlehem Steel says it has taken a $1.10 billion charge to stockholders' deficit for pension obligations.

The annual charge brought stockholder’s deficit at the end of 2002 to $3.45 billion from $1.68 billion at the same period a year earlier.   Additionally, Bethlehem declared a fourth quarter non-cash charge of $176 million due to pension expenses related to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s (PBGC) termination of the company’s pension plan .

The latest announcement by the bankrupt steel maker was peppered with references to the company’s future after the  PBGC announced it would be terminating the company’s pension plan .   According to Bethlehem’s CEO Robert Miller, due to the PBGC’s actions, Bethlehem “will not recognize pension expense in 2003 for our defined benefit pension plan.”

Overall, Bethlehem reported a loss for the fourth quarter of 2002 of $429 million, compared to $54 million for the third quarter of 2002 and $547 million for the fourth quarter of 2001. For the year ended December 31, 2002, Bethlehem’s net loss was $700 million compared to the $1.9 billion for 2001.