The Ball Corporation, a packaging and aerospace company, has agreed to purchase a group annuity contract from Prudential that will transfer payment responsibility liabilities for retirement pension benefits owed to approximately 11,000 Ball and Rexam retirees in the U.S.
“With this change, Ball is lowering the cost and effectively managing the risk associated with its U.S. pension plans, as well as streamlining their administration,” said CFO Scott Morrison.
All in-pay participants will continue to receive their benefits from the company’s pension plan until Oct. 31, when Prudential will assume responsibility for payments, as well as administrative and customer service support, and will guarantee the pension benefits. Ball said that by transferring the payment obligations to Prudential, the company will reduce its U.S. qualified pension plan liabilities by approximately $220 million.
Although the payer name will change, the company said its retirees will receive the same monthly benefit they have been receiving from Ball, and will receive more information on the change via mail within the coming weeks.
Ball said it expects to incur a non-cash, non-comparable settlement charge of approximately $40 million in Q3 related to the annuity transfer. It also said that the move doesn’t change the company’s previously stated pension funding plans, comparable free cash flow, or comparable earnings targets.
“The agreements do not impact any benefits provided to current employees,” said the company.
Willis Towers Watson served as strategic advisor to Ball Corporation in the transaction.