DETROIT -- General Motors on Thursday said it had contributed 149.2 million of its Hughes Electronics Corp. shares to employee benefit plans, which are severely underfunded due to declining stock markets and soaring health-care costs.
The contribution, valued at about $1.24 billion, cuts GM's retained economic interest in its wholly owned Hughes subsidiary to roughly 20 percent from 30.7 percent, the company said.
GM said it contributed 108.2 million Class H common shares to its U.S. hourly and salaried employee pension plans, and 41 million shares to a trust established principally to provide health and life insurance benefits to hourly retirees.
Plans to make the contributions were laid out in a company announcement Feb. 28.
GM's U.S. pension plan ended 2002 underfunded by $19.3 billion, due mainly to three consecutive years of stock market declines. Its health-care costs have been rising dramatically, along with those of other leading U.S. companies, including cross-town rival Ford Motor Co.