PENSION AND OTHER POSTRETIREMENT PLANS
|12 Months Ended|
Sep. 30, 2012
|PENSION AND OTHER POSTRETIREMENT PLANS [Abstract]|
|PENSION AND OTHER POSTRETIREMENT PLANS||
The Company provides defined benefit pension and other postretirement plans to certain employees. The following provides a reconciliation of benefit obligations, plan assets and funded status of the plans as of the Company's actuarial valuation as of September 30, 2012 and 2011:
Based upon actuarial valuations performed as of September 30, 2012 and 2011, the accumulated benefit obligation for the Company's defined benefit pension plans was $172,142 and $149,846 at September 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively, and the projected benefit obligation for the Company's defined benefit pension plans was $195,860 and $168,033 at September 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively.
Net periodic pension and other postretirement benefit cost for the plans included the following:
Benefit payments under the Company's principal retirement plan are made from plan assets, while benefit payments under the supplemental retirement plan and postretirement benefit plan are made from the Company's operating cash. Under I.R.S. regulations, the Company was not required to make any significant contributions to its principal retirement plan in fiscal 2012. The Company is not required to make any significant contributions to its principal retirement plan in fiscal 2013.
Contributions made in fiscal 2012 are as follows:
Amounts of AOCL expected to be recognized in net periodic benefit costs in fiscal 2013 include:
The measurement date of annual actuarial valuations for the Company's principal retirement and other postretirement benefit plans was September 30 for fiscal 2012, 2011 and 2010. The weighted-average assumptions for those plans were:
The underlying basis of the investment strategy of the Company's defined benefit plans is to ensure the assets are invested to achieve a positive rate of return over the long term sufficient to meet the plans' actuarial interest rate and provide for the payment of benefit obligations and expenses in perpetuity in a secure and prudent fashion, maintain a prudent risk level that balances growth with the need to preserve capital, diversify plan assets so as to minimize the risk of large losses or excessive fluctuations in market value from year to year, achieve investment results over the long term that compare favorably with other pension plans and appropriate indices. The Company's investment policy, as established by the Company's pension board, specifies the types of investments appropriate for the plans, asset allocation guidelines, criteria for the selection of investment managers, procedures to monitor overall investment performance as well as investment manager performance. It also provides guidelines enabling plan fiduciaries to fulfill their responsibilities.
The Company's primary defined benefit pension plan's weighted-average asset allocation at September 30, 2012 and 2011 and weighted-average target allocation were as follows:
Plan assets in the fixed income, cash and cash equivalents category include cash of 4% and 9% of plan assets at September 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively, which reflects cash contributions to the Company's principal pension plan immediately prior to the end of each fiscal year.
Based on an analysis of the historical performance of the plan's assets and information provided by its independent investment advisor, the Company set the long-term rate of return assumption for these assets at 8.0% in 2012 for purposes of determining pension cost and funded status under current guidance. The Company's discount rate assumption used in determining the present value of the projected benefit obligation is based upon published indices.
The Company categorizes plan assets within a three level fair value hierarchy (see Note 3 for a further discussion of the fair value hierarchy). The valuation methodologies used to measure the fair value of pension assets, including the level in the fair value hierarchy in which each type of pension plan asset is classified as follows.
Equity securities consist of direct investments in the stocks of publicly traded companies. Such investments are valued based on the closing price reported in an active market on which the individual securities are traded. As such, the direct investments are classified as Level 1.
Mutual funds are valued at the net asset values of shares held by the Plan at year end. As such, these mutual fund investments are classified as Level 1.
Fixed income securities consist of publicly traded fixed interest obligations (primarily U.S. government notes and corporate and agency bonds). Such investments are valued through consultation and evaluation with brokers in the institutional market using quoted prices and other observable market data. As such, U.S. government notes are included in Level 1, and the remainder of the fixed income securities is included in Level 2.
Cash and cash equivalents consist of direct cash holdings and short-term money market mutual funds. These values are valued based on cost, which approximates fair value, and as such, are classified as Level 1.
Other investments consist primarily of real estate, commodities, private equity holdings and hedge fund investments. These holdings are valued by investment managers based on the most recent information available. The valuation information used by investment managers may not be readily observable. As such, these investments are classified as Level 3.
The Company's defined benefit pension plans' asset categories at September 30, 2012 and 2011 were as follows:
Changes in the fair value of Level 3 assets at September 30, 2012 and 2011 are summarized as follows:
Benefit payments expected to be paid are as follows:
For measurement purposes, a rate of increase of 9.0% in the per capita cost of health care benefits was assumed for 2012; the rate was assumed to decrease gradually to 5.0% for 2031 and remain at that level thereafter. Assumed health care cost trend rates have a significant effect on the amounts reported. An increase in the assumed health care cost trend rates by one percentage point would have increased the accumulated postretirement benefit obligation as of September 30, 2012 by $1,447 and the aggregate of the service and interest cost components of net periodic postretirement benefit cost for the year then ended by $122. A decrease in the assumed health care cost trend rates by one percentage point would have decreased the accumulated postretirement benefit obligation as of September 30, 2012 by $1,283 and the aggregate of the service and interest cost components of net periodic postretirement benefit cost for the year then ended by $107.
The entire disclosure for pension and other postretirement benefits.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef