New York Times is Freezing Pension Plan

November 12, 2009 ( - The New York Times Company has amended The New York Times Companies Pension Plan, a defined benefit pension plan for non-union employees, to discontinue future benefit accruals and freeze existing accrued benefits effective December 31, 2009.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Times said it is increasing contributions under The New York Times Companies Supplemental Retirement and Investment Plan (SRIP), its 401(k) plan, such that participants will receive a cash contribution of 3% of pay, up to applicable limits, effective January 1, 2010.

In addition, the company approved a freeze of The New York Times Company Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan (SERP), a non-qualified defined benefit plan that provides enhanced retirement benefits to select members of management, also effective December 31, 2009. The Times approved the adoption of two unfunded supplemental defined contribution plans.

Under the first, The New York Times Company Savings Restoration Plan (Restoration Plan), participants are provided with the portion of the 3% basic contribution that cannot be provided under the SRIP as a result of Internal Revenue Code limits on the amount of compensation and annual plan additions under the SRIP. Participants will vest in their accounts pursuant to a five-year graded vesting schedule, the filing said.

Under the second, The New York Times Company Supplemental Executive Savings Plan (Supplemental Savings Plan), a participant’s account will be credited each year with a supplemental contribution equal to: (i) 10% of his or her compensation for SERP participants on December 31, 2009; or (ii) 5% for those who were not SERP participants on December 31, 2009. Participating executives will vest in their benefit upon attaining age 55 and completing 10 years of service.

As a result of the changes, the Times said it expects an estimated net expense reduction of approximately $23 million in 2010, depending on fluctuations in discount rates and plan assets.