management’s discussion and analysis
of financial condition and results of operations
Severance, Pension and Benefit Charges
During 2011, we recorded net pre-tax severance, pension and benefits charges of approximately $6.0 billion for our pension and postretirement plans in accordance with our accounting policy to recognize actuarial gains and losses in the year in which they occur. The charges were primarily driven by a decrease in our discount rate assumption used to determine the current year liabilities from 5.75% at December 31, 2010 to 5% at December 31, 2011 ($5.0 billion); the difference between our estimated return on assets of 8% and our actual return on assets of 5% ($0.9 billion); and revisions to the life expectancy of participants and other adjustments to assumptions.
During 2010, we recorded net pre-tax severance, pension and benefits charges of $3.1 billion. The charges during 2010 included remeasurement losses of $0.6 billion, for our pension and postretirement plans in accordance with our accounting policy to recognize actuarial gains and losses in the year in which they occur. Additionally, in 2010, we reached an agreement with certain unions on temporary enhancements to the separation programs contained in their existing collective bargaining agreements. These temporary enhancements were intended to help address a previously declared surplus of employees and to help reduce the need for layoffs. Accordingly, we recorded severance, pension and benefits charges associated with approximately 11,900 union-represented employees who volunteered for the incentive offer. These charges included $1.2 billion for severance for the 2010 separation programs mentioned above and a planned workforce reduction of approximately 2,500 employees in 2011. In addition, we recorded $1.3 billion for pension and postretirement curtailment losses and special termination benefits due to the workforce reductions.
During 2009, we recorded net pre-tax severance, pension and benefits charges of $1.4 billion. These charges were primarily comprised of pension and postretirement curtailment losses and special termination benefits of $1.9 billion; $0.9 billion for workforce reductions of approximately 17,600 employees, 4,200 of whom were separated during late 2009 and the remainder in 2010; and remeasurement gains of $1.4 billion for our pension and postretirement plans in accordance with our accounting policy to recognize actuarial gains and losses in the year in which they occur.
Merger Integration and Acquisition Related Charges
During 2010, we recorded pre-tax merger integration charges of $0.9 billion primarily related to the Alltel acquisition. These charges were primarily due to the decommissioning of overlapping cell sites, preacquisition contingencies, handset conversions and trade name amortization.
During 2009, we recorded pre-tax merger integration and acquisition related charges of $1.2 billion. These charges primarily related to the Alltel acquisition and were comprised of trade name amortization, re-branding initiatives and handset conversions. The charges during 2009 were also comprised of transaction fees and costs associated with the acquisition, including fees related to the credit facility that was entered into and utilized to complete the acquisition.
Access Line-Spin-off Related Charges
During 2010 and 2009, we recorded pre-tax charges of $0.5 billion and $0.2 billion, respectively, primarily for costs incurred related to network, non-network software and other activities to enable the divested markets in the transaction with Frontier to operate on a stand-alone basis subsequent to the closing of the transaction; professional advisory and legal fees in connection with this transaction; and fees related to the early extinguishment of debt from the use of proceeds from the transaction. During 2009, we also recorded pre-tax charges of $0.2 billion for costs incurred related to our Wireline cost reduction initiatives (See ’Acquisitions and Divestitures”).
Alltel Divestiture Markets
During the second quarter of 2010, we recorded a tax charge of approximately $0.2 billion for the taxable gain associated with the Alltel Divestiture Markets (see ’Acquisitions and Divestitures”).
Medicare Part D Subsidy Charges
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, both of which became law in March 2010 (collectively the Health Care Act), beginning in 2013, Verizon and other companies that receive a subsidy under Medicare Part D to provide retiree prescription drug coverage will no longer receive a federal income tax deduction for the expenses incurred in connection with providing the subsidized coverage to the extent of the subsidy received. Because future anticipated retiree prescription drug plan liabilities and related subsidies are already reflected in Verizon’s financial statements, this change in law required Verizon to reduce the value of the related tax benefits recognized in its financial statements in the period during which the Health Care Act was enacted. As a result, Verizon recorded a one-time, non-cash income tax charge of $1.0 billion in the first quarter of 2010 to reflect the impact of this change.
Debt Redemption Costs
During November 2011, we recorded debt redemption costs of $0.1 billion in connection with the early redemption of $1.0 billion of 7.375% Verizon Communications Notes due September 2012, $0.6 billion of 6.875% Verizon Communications Notes due June 2012, $0.4 billion of 6.125% Verizon Florida Inc. Debentures due January 2013, $0.5 billion of 6.125% Verizon Maryland Inc. Debentures due March 2012 and $1.0 billion of 6.875% Verizon New York Inc. Debentures due April 2012.
Corporate, eliminations and other during the periods presented include a non-cash adjustment of $0.2 billion and ($0.1 billion) in 2010 and 2009, respectively, primarily to adjust wireless data revenues. This adjustment was recorded to properly defer previously recognized wireless data revenues that were earned and recognized in future periods. The adjustment was recorded during 2010, which reduced Net income (loss) attributable to Verizon by approximately $0.1 billion. Consolidated revenues in 2009 were not affected as the amounts involved were not material to our consolidated financial statements.