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Celanese to change pension accounting policy

DALLAS (AP) -- Specialty materials and chemical products company Celanese said Tuesday that it is changing the accounting policy for its defined benefit pension plans and other benefit plans used by retirees.

The company will no longer defer and amortize gains and losses into future years. Instead, under the new policy it will recognize actuarial gains and losses and changes in the fair value of the plans' assets during the fourth quarter of each year.

Celanese Corp. said that the accounting policy change took effect on Jan. 1 and was retroactively applied to 2012's fourth quarter. The Dallas company said that due to the retroactive application, its 2012 earnings per share from continuing operations fell to $2.35 from $3.81 mostly because of a $389 million mark-to-market adjustment in the fourth quarter.

However, removing the mark-to-market adjustment, adjusted earnings per share rose to $4.07 from $3.80 because of lower amortization costs from prior periods.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of $3.79 per share.

Shares of Celanese added 39 cents to $43.41 in morning trading. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $32.77 to $50.68.