This excerpt taken from the AKS 10-K filed Mar 2, 2006.
Asset Impairment and Pension & OPEB Charges
In the fourth quarter of 2005, AK-ISG Steel Coating Company, a joint venture that operates an electrogalvanizing line in Cleveland, OH made the decision to indefinitely idle that facility effective March 31, 2006. The Company has determined that it is now able to fully satisfy its electrogalvanizing requirements, under prevailing market conditions, solely through its own facilities. As a result, the Company fully impaired this investment, resulting in a charge of $33.9 in 2005. The Company also recorded an impairment charge of $31.7 related to certain previously-idled stainless processing equipment at its Butler Works and Mansfield Works. The Company determined that it is now able to support its stainless markets through operating efficiencies at its other processing facilities. These actions will better position the Company for the future by further consolidating and rationalizing its operations to be more cost effective and allowing for the maximization of the productivity of its other operations. The Company has reviewed all of its assets carefully and does not believe that it is reasonably likely that further asset impairments will occur within the foreseeable future.
Under the method of accounting for pension and other postretirement benefit plans which the Company adopted at the time of its merger with Armco Inc. in 1999, the Company recognized fourth quarter non-cash charges in 2005 and 2004 of $54.2 and $330.8, respectively. Under this method of accounting, the Company is required to recognize into its results of operations, as a fourth quarter noncash corridor adjustment, any unrecognized actuarial net gains or losses that exceed 10% of the larger of projected benefit obligations or plan assets. Amounts inside this 10% corridor are amortized over the average remaining service life of active plan participants. Actuarial net gains and losses occur when actual experience differs from any of the many assumptions used to value the benefit plans, or when the assumptions change, as they may each year when a valuation is performed. The effect of prevailing interest rates on the discount rate used to value projected plan obligations as of the October 31 measurement date is one of the more important factors used to determine the Companys year-end liability, fourth quarter corridor adjustment and subsequent years expense for these benefit plans. An increase in health care costs caused the Company to record a fourth quarter corridor charge of $54.2 related to its other postretirement benefit plans. In 2005, the Company also recorded a net credit to equity of $21.5 to recognize its minimum pension liability. See Liquidity and Capital Resources below for a further discussion of funding requirements and pending pension legislation.
The Company also recognized a fourth-quarter curtailment charge in 2005 of $12.9 related to the new labor contract recently negotiated with the represented employees at the Companys Ashland Works. Under that agreement, the existing defined benefit pension plan was locked and frozen as of January 1, 2006, with subsequent Company pension contributions being made to the Steelworkers Pension Trust (SPT). As a result, the Company is required to recognize in 2005 the past service pension expense that previously would have been amortized. On balance, the future benefits associated with the new labor contract, including the locking and freezing of the defined benefit plans and increased active and retiree healthcare cost-sharing, will outweigh the one-time fourth quarter curtailment charge and the ongoing contributions to the SPT.