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Merck prescribes $235 million for pension plans in 2017

Merck & Co. Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., will contribute $50 million to its U.S. pension plans in 2017, $160 million to its international pension plans and $25 million for other postretirement plans, the company reported in a 10-K filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In 2016, the company contributed $63 million to the U.S. pension funds, $424 million to the international funds and $68 million to other post-retirement plans, the 10-K said.

The 2016 funding ratio for the U.S. pension plans was 90% vs. 95.3% in 2015. Last year's funding ratio for the international pension plans was 93.1% vs. 93.2% in 2015.

The discount rate for the U.S. plans was 4.3% in 2016 vs. 4.8% in 2015. The discount rate for international plans was 2.2% last year vs. 2.8% in 2015.

The target allocation for the company's U.S. pension and other postretirement benefit plans is 40% to 60% U.S. equities, 20% to 40% international equities, 15% to 25% fixed-income investments and up to 5% in cash and other investments, the 10-K statement said.

“For international pension plans, the targeted investment portfolio varies based on the duration of pension liabilities and local government rules and regulations,” the 10-K said. “Although a significant percentage of plan assets are invested in U.S. equities, concentration risk is mitigated through the use of strategies that are diversified within management guidelines.”