FRANCE - Alcatel-Lucent's deficit for its pension and other post employment benefits (OPEB) dropped by nearly 22% to €1.41bn ($1.92bn) over the third quarter.
However, this is up from €1.27bn at the same time last year.
The firm's total pension assets reached €27bn over the quarter, down from €28.5bn the previous quarter. However, in US dollar terms, total pensions assets increased to $36.9bn from $35bn in the past quarter. OPEB assets dropped to €394m from €490m.
The funding level was held back by a 40 basis point drop in the discount rate over the quarter, said chief financial executive officer Paul Tufano, on an earnings call with investors and the press.
The US pension plans are discounted against the CitiGroup Curve, while the non-US plans are discounted against Bloomberg AA Corporate yields.
Officials at the firm have been working since 2009 to reduce their pension risk and better match assets to liabilities.
In January, the firm reached its target fixed income allocation of 70% of all assets, according to its quarterly filing.
"We're intent on reducing downside risk," said Tufano.
In the US, the firm is making changes to its two defined benefit schemes. On 1 December, the firm will merge its US occupational plan, which covers 6,300 employees not represented by unions, into the US management pension plan.
The occupational plan has $810m in assets and between $520m and $490m in obligations, depending on the discount rate.
The merger will improve the funded status of the management pension plan by up to $320m.
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