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More companies disclose health-care charges Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 April 2010

(Reuters) - Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Goodrich and Ingersoll-Rand on Wednesday joined a growing list of companies that plan to book charges related to US healthcare reform.

The federal government pays subsidies to large companies, including AT&T, Caterpillar and Deere & Co, to help pay for prescription drug benefits for retirees.

The U.S. healthcare overhaul signed into law last week by President Barack Obama would eliminate tax deductions that have been available to companies that provide such benefits.

Some corporate leaders have complained that the change amounts to a tax increase. White House officials have countered that it essentially closes a tax loophole.

Although the change does not take effect until 2013, accounting rules require that the charges be recorded in the period the legislation was enacted.

On Wednesday, the list of corporations expecting to take charges related to healthcare reform grew.

Lockheed Martin, the world's largest defense contractor, said it expected to record a $96 million, or about 25 cents a share, after-tax charge in the first quarter.

Boeing said it would take a charge of around $150 million, or 20 cents per share, against first-quarter results.

Aircraft parts supplier Goodrich expected the charge to be about $10 million, or 8 cents per share, in the first quarter, while air compressor and cooling systems maker Ingersoll-Rand forecast a charge of $41 million, or 12 cents per share.

Conversely, General Electric has said that it does not expect health care reform to have a "significant material impact" on its results.

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