Verizon Blames Pension for Q4 Loss Despite Revenue Growth

A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 22 2013 2:00 PM

Verizon Blames Pension for Q4 Loss Despite Revenue Growth

getty_159139015-1358880751
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

Photograph by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Verizon's fourth quarter earnings report is out and the company is eagerly touting growing revenues across its main product lines and less eager to note that they actually lost money. Quite a bit of money, in fact, $4.22 billion dollars. A small fraction of that is due to costs related to Hurricane Sandy, which did a lot of damage to Verizon infrastructure.

But by far the larger story relates to what the company calls "pension and benefit charges primarily for the annual actuarial valuation of Verizon's benefit plans as well as the annuitization of various pension liabilities during the quarter." The question for the company going forward is whether these pension issues are really just a one-off, or whether the company has a big problem here on an ongoing basis.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.