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Media General Freezes Pension Plan

April 21, 2009
Related Topics: Future Workplace, Retirement/Pensions, Workforce Planning, Latest News
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Media General Inc. said Friday, April 17, that it will freeze its defined-benefit pension plan, finalizing a process the newspaper, television and online company began more than two years ago.

At the start of 2007, Richmond, Virginia-based Media General closed the plan to new employees and stopped service accruals for current plan participants, with their retirement benefits based on final average salary when the participants terminated employment or retired.

On Friday, however, Media General said retirement benefits for current participants will be based on their final average salary as of May 31.

The freeze is Media General’s second retirement plan cutback this year. In January, it said it would suspend, effective April 1, its 401(k) plan matching contribution through the end of this year. It had been matching 100 percent of employees’ salary deferrals up to 5 percent of pay
 
The cutbacks come amid deteriorating financial results. In 2008, Media General reported a net loss of $631.8 million—due largely to a write-down of asset values—compared with net income of $10.7 million in 2007.

During the first quarter of 2009, the company reported a net loss of $21.3 million, up from a net loss of $20.3 million during the comparable period in 2008.

Media General owns 22 daily newspapers, 250 weekly newspapers, 19 television stations and several online ventures, primarily in the Southeast.

Filed by Jerry Geisel of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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