Newspaper Company Suspends 401(k) Match, Profit-Sharing Contributions

Citing an “extremely tough business climate in 2009,″ Richmond, Virginia-based Media General said it will stop matching employee deferrals to its 401(k) retirement plans starting April 1.

In a letter to employees, President and CEO Marshall N. Morton said “based on our outlook for the year, we do not anticipate a level of earnings in 2009 that would generate a 401(k) plan profit-sharing contribution.” Morton said both company match and profit sharing contributions would be reinstated upon improved business conditions.

Media General publishes 24 daily newspapers and about 275 weekly newspapers and other publications, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Tampa Tribune. It also owns and operates 19 network-affiliated television stations, and Web sites associated with its newspapers and television stations, the Times-Dispatch reported.

Consumer group the Pension Rights Center, indicated that since June 2008, at least 38 large companies have publicly disclosed plans to change or eliminate contributions to their employee’s 401(k) accounts, according to the news report (see “(k)Plans: Rough Cuts’).