Pension Expense Up, Assumptions Hold: Exxon Mobil

October 31, 2002 ( - Exxon Mobil's pension plan is not underfunded, but the energy giant's pension expenses were up about $50 million in the third quarter from a quarter earlier, according to reports.

Exxon Mobil’s investor relations vice president Patrick Mulva also said that the company is sticking with its 9.5% return assumption for the plan despite the faltering equity markets, according to Dow Jones.

He said that figure was reasonable because the plan now has an overall 12.5% performance.

During a Thursday conference call, Mulva said the company’s third-quarter earnings were down 17% from last year — of $2.64 billion, or $0.39 cents a share, compared with $3.18 billion, or $0.46 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue of $54.1 billion was marginally higher than last year’s $52.1 billion he said.

Numerous blue chip companies have been struggling this year with underperforming pension plans, hit hard by the bear market. Many plans have required large infusions of cash to make sure they’re properly funded (See  Merrill Report Fans Pension Funding Fears ).