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GE to freeze pensions for about 20,000 employees, stock surges $GE

Shares of General Electric Co. GE, +1.52% surged 2.6% in premarket trading Monday, after the industrial conglomerate said it was freezing the U.S. pension plan for about 20,000 employees with salaried benefits, and supplementary pension benefits for 700 employees. 

GE said there would be no change for retirees already collecting pension benefits; the pension plan has been closed to new entrants since 2012. The company said it will offer a limited-time lump-sum payment option to about 100,000 former employees who have not yet started their monthly pension plan payments. 

GE said it is pre-funding approximately $4 billion to $5 billion of minimum ERISA [Employee Retirement Income Security Act] funding requirements for 2021 and 2022. GE said the pension moves was part of its plan that is expected to reduce its pension deficit by $5 billion to $8 billion and net debt by $4 billion to $6 billion. GE's stock has tumbled 32.4% over the past 12 months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.42% has gained 0.5%.

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