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Wolverine Tube Freezes Pensions

The company claims to be 'modernizing' the plans.
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Wolverine Tube (WLV) will freeze both its U.S. qualified defined benefit plan and its supplemental benefit restoration plan at the end of next month.

The Huntsville, Ala., copper tube maker said the move comes as part of what it repeatedly called the "modernizing" of its retirement program for most workers. The company expects the changes to reduce its retirement cost over the next five years by $24 million, based upon year-end 2005 pension assumptions.

Wolverine said it will also eliminate subsidies for retiree medical insurance for employees who are not at least age 55 (age 57 for employees located in Altoona, Pa.) at the same time.

Wolverine said it will expand its 401(k) plan match to include an automatic 3% contribution to each affected employee's 401(k) account, a match of employees' contributions, the addition of a so-called success-sharing component to the 401(k) plan, and the provision of transition contributions for five years, based upon an employee's age and years of service.

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On Friday, Wolverine fell 12 cents to $5.98.