This excerpt taken from the AKS 10-K filed Feb 26, 2008.
Pension & Other Postretirement Employee Benefit (OPEB) Charges
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 a non-cash charge in 2006 of $133.2 with respect to its benefit plans. Under this method of accounting, the Company is required to recognize into its results of operations, as a non-cash 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, corridor adjustment and subsequent years expense for these benefit plans. The 2006 corridor charge of $133.2 was caused principally by an increase in health care costs and the large number of early retirements of employees eligible for retiree healthcare benefits at the Companys Middletown Works. There were no corridor charges incurred in 2007.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 158, Employers Accounting for Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Plans-an amendment of FASB Statements No. 87, 88, 106, and 132(R) (FAS 158) in September 2006. FAS 158 provides guidance for accounting for pensions and other postretirement benefit plans. This guidance requires companies to recognize on their balance sheet the overfunded or underfunded position of their plans with a corresponding adjustment to accumulated other comprehensive income, net of tax. The guidance for the recognition and disclosure provisions went into effect for the Company as of December 31, 2006. The adoption of FAS 158 resulted in a reduction of the Companys intangible asset of $32.9, a decrease in pension and other postretirement benefit liabilities of $159.8 and an increase to equity of $142.7, net of tax. Prior to the adoption of FAS 158, the Company recorded a net credit to equity of $29.7 to recognize its minimum pension liability. FAS 158 requires the Company to change its measurement date from October 31 to the Companys December 31 fiscal year-end date, by December 31, 2008.
In the first and second quarters of 2007, the Company recognized curtailment charges associated with new labor agreements at the Companys Mansfield Works and Middletown Works of $15.1 and $24.7, respectively. Under these agreements, the existing defined benefit pension plan at each facility was locked and frozen with subsequent Company contributions being made to multiemployer pension trusts. On balance, the Company expects the future benefits associated with the new labor agreement, including the locking and freezing of the defined benefit plans will outweigh the one-time curtailment charges and the ongoing contributions to the multiemployer pension trusts.
In the third quarter of 2006, the Company recognized a curtailment charge and other one-time charges in the aggregate amount of $15.8 related to new labor agreements negotiated during 2006 with the represented employees at the Companys Butler Works and Zanesville Works. Under these agreements, the existing defined benefit pension plan at each facility was locked and frozen in 2006, with subsequent Company contributions being made to Company-provided 401(k) plans. As a result, the Company was required to recognize in 2006 the
past service pension expense that previously would have been amortized. On balance, the Company expects the future benefits associated with these new labor agreements, including the locking and freezing of the defined benefit plans, will outweigh the $15.8 one-time curtailment and other charges noted above, as well as the Companys ongoing contributions to the new 401(k) plans.