GERMANY - DAX 30 companies' pension payments reached €9bn in 2009, compared to €6.5bn the year before, Towers Watson has calculated. Overall funding funding levels remained the same.

Assessing 24 of the 30 annual reports of the top German listed companies in the DAX 30, Towers Watson noted in a press release that "the trend towards funding pension liabilities is on the rise again", and employer contributions have increased by 30%.

The average funding level is 66%, similar to that of 2008 with 65%, but slightly below the average Mercer had calculated from the first 19 companies to release their annual reports. (See earlier IPE article: Market upturn failed to increase DAX-related pensions' funding levels

According to Towers Watson, the companies with the highest levels are Deutsche Bank with almost 98% followed by MAN, Beiersdorf and BASF with just under 91%.

No 2009 figures are available yet for Commerzbank which had a funding level in its pension plan of 91.4% and SAP (90.6%) in 2008.

At the bottom of the list are Deutsche Telekom (9%) and ThyssenKrupp (19.2%).

Also virtually unchanged was the asset allocation in the pension schemes, despite last year's equity rally.

With an equity allocation of around 24% (compared to 23% last year and 30% in 2007) the companies continued their LDI focus, which began in 2008. (See earlier IPE article: German pensions 'comparatively sound' - WWH

Fixed income exposure was 63% (61%) and real estate investments also retained their share of almost 6%.

"By international comparison the equity allocation in corporate pension schemes is currently twice as high as in Germany," said Alfred Gohdes, Towers Watson managing director.

Towers Watson is convinced that the outsourcing of pension liabilities and assets will  continue to increase this year, also due to the BilMoG domestic accounting reform. (See earlier IPE article: German corporates continue shift to pension plans)