GE Will Pay Extra Month of Benefits to 130,000 Retirees

General Electric Co. will pay an extra month’s worth of pension benefits to about 130,000 retirees in December.

The payment increases the company’s pension obligation by about $140 million, said Sue Bishop, a spokeswoman. Letters will be sent this week to retirees and surviving spouses explaining individual payments, GE said in a statement.

The one-time payment is the first of its kind the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company has made since 2003. GE last raised the ongoing pension payout rate in 2007.

General Electric announced its intention to make the payment in June following negotiations with U.S. unions.

The company hasn’t had to make a cash contribution to its pension funds since 1987 and doesn’t plan to do so this year, according to GE’s annual report for 2010. GE expects to contribute about $1.4 billion to the pension plan in 2012, according to the report.

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