SEC Pension Probe Now Includes Navistar

October 22, 2004 ( - Truck maker Navistar International is apparently the latest target of federal securities regulators about its pension and health-care accounting practices.

In a    securities filing , the Warrenville, Illinois company said it had gotten an October 13 demand from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) “to voluntarily produce certain documents and information related to our accounting practices with respect to defined benefit pension plans and other postretirement benefits.”   Navistar responded: “The company intends to fully cooperate with this request.”

Also Boeing acknowledged this week that it, too, was an SEC target.   The aerospace giant said it is cooperating with the SEC’s inquiry and has committed no violations.”The SEC has stated that this inquiry should not be construed as an indication by the commission or its staff that any violation of laws has occurred,” Boeing said in a statement. “Boeing believes that its accounting policies and practices are in accordance with the highest standards and are accurate and complete.”

The commission – which also has contacted Ford Motor, General Motors, Northwest Airlines and Delphi – is trying to determine if companies use unrealistic assumptions to estimate future returns from pension-fund assets, which could allow them to boost profit or minimize earnings swings (See  More Disclosures on Pension Accounting Probe List ).

All of the companies named in the SEC’s informal investigation so far listed assumed rates of return for their pension plans of 8.75% to 9.5%, in line with estimates from other companies not named, according to news reports.