J.C. Penney offers certain former employees lump-sum payout

J.C. Penney Co. Inc., Plano, Texas, is offering lump-sum payments to 35,000 former employees who are vested participants in its pension fund, confirmed spokesman Joseph D. Thomas.

The company is offering “a one-time, voluntary lump-sum pension payment” to former employees who had not collected benefits as of Aug. 31, Mr. Thomas wrote in an e-mail.

Offers were mailed to eligible participants in September, with a deadline of Nov. 15 to respond. Most payments should occur during December, Mr. Thomas wrote.

The company's pension fund was closed to new participants as of Jan. 1, 2007.

As of Dec. 31, the company reported the fair value of plan assets at $5.176 billion and projected benefit obligations of $5.297 billion, for a funding ratio of 97.7%, according to the company's most recent 10-K filing.