GERMANY - IBM Germany is planning to set up a Pensionsfond to evade high pension solvency levies.

The company wants to transfer funds and members from its Unterstützungskasse, a pension support fund, to the new Pensionsfond.
IBM Germany published no details on the size of the new fund or which employees or former employees were to be transferred.

It stressed that the level of benefits for existing members of the pension schemes of IBM Germany would not change after the Pensionsfond was set up.

The company said: "By using this modern pension fund model, which is privileged by law, we can considerably reduce our burden of contributions to the pension insolvency fund (PSV)."

It admitted the steep increase in the PSV levy last year was "a heavy burden" on its fourth-quarter results in 2009.

IBM Germany noted that the PSV was an important "solidarity principle" for the German economy, but said that it had led, at a time of increasing insolvencies, to "well managed, healthy companies having to come to the aid of those that have run into difficulties and have not - like IBM - sufficiently provided for pension liabilities they have taken on".