I. Earnings per Share
The following table sets forth the computation of basic and diluted earnings per share (in thousands, except per share amounts):
Net earnings available to common shareholders
Weighted average shares outstanding for basic earnings per share
Dilutive effect of stock options computed based on the treasury stock method using the average market price
Weighted average shares outstanding for diluted earnings per share
Basic earnings per share
Diluted earnings per share
Stock options to purchase 1.4 million, 0.6 million and 0.4 million shares were not included in the 2015, 2014 and 2013 computations of diluted earnings per share, respectively, because they would have been anti-dilutive.
J. Retirement Benefits
The Company has a defined contribution plan, under Section 401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code, which provides retirement benefits to most U.S. employees. For all employees who choose to participate, the Company matches employee contributions at a 100 percent rate, up to 3 percent of the employee’s compensation. For employees not covered by a defined benefit plan, the Company contributes an amount equal to 1.5 percent of the employee’s compensation. Employer contributions totaled $6.3 million in 2015, $6.9 million in 2014 and $6.3 million in 2013.
The Company’s postretirement medical plan provides certain medical benefits for retired U.S. employees. Employees hired before January 1, 2005, are eligible for these benefits upon retirement and fulfillment of other eligibility requirements as specified by the plan.
The Company has both funded and unfunded noncontributory defined benefit pension plans that together cover most U.S. employees hired before January 1, 2006, certain directors and some of the employees of the Company’s non-U.S. subsidiaries.
For U.S. plans, benefits are based on years of service and the highest 5 consecutive years’ earnings in the 10 years preceding retirement. The Company funds annually in amounts consistent with minimum funding levels and maximum tax deduction limits.
The Company maintains a defined contribution plan covering employees of a Swiss subsidiary, funded by Company and employee contributions. In 2013, the Company transferred responsibility for pension coverage under Swiss law to a reputable Swiss insurance company. Plan assets are invested in an insurance contract that guarantees a federally mandated annual rate of return. The value of the plan assets is effectively the value of the insurance contract. The performance of the underlying assets held by the insurance company has no direct impact on the surrender value of the insurance contract. The insurance backed assets have no active market and are classified in the “other” assets category, level 3 in the fair value hierarchy.
Investment policies and strategies of the U.S. funded pension plan are based on a long-term view of economic growth and heavily weighted toward equity securities. The primary goal of the plan’s investments is to ensure that the plan’s liabilities are met over time. In developing strategic asset allocation guidelines, an emphasis is placed on the long-term characteristics of individual asset classes, and the benefits of diversification among multiple asset classes. The plan invests primarily in domestic and international equities, fixed income securities, which include treasuries, highly-rated corporate bonds and high-yield bonds and real estate. The midpoints of the ranges of strategic target allocations for plan assets are 58 percent equity securities, 31 percent fixed income securities and 11 percent real estate and alternative investments.
Plan assets are held in a trust for the benefit of plan participants and are invested in various commingled funds, most of which are sponsored by the trustee. Equity securities are valued using quoted prices in active markets. The fair values for commingled equity and fixed-income funds, international equity funds, and real estate investments are measured using net asset values, which take into consideration the value of underlying fund investments, as well as the other accrued assets and liabilities of a fund, in order to determine a per share market value. Commingled fund and international equity funds are classified as level 2 because the net asset value is not directly traded on an active exchange. Certain trustee-sponsored funds allow redemptions monthly or quarterly, with 10 or 60 days advance notice, while most of the funds allow redemptions daily.