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DEFINED BENEFIT

Sears Holdings contributing $312 million to U.S. pension plan

Sears Holdings Corp., Hoffman Estates, Ill., plans to contribute $312 million to its U.S. defined benefit plan in 2017, the company announced in a 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.

The company contributed $314 million to the plan in 2016 and $299 million in 2015.

As of Jan. 28, U.S. defined benefit plan assets totaled $3.567 billion, while projected benefit obligations totaled $5.165 billion, for a funding ratio of 69.1%, up from 60.5% the prior year. The company reported a discount rate of 4.15%, down from 4.5% a year earlier.

The actual asset allocation of the plan as of that same date was 63% fixed income and other debt securities, 35% equity securities and 2% other.

The company, which expressed in the filing that “substantial doubt exists related to (its) ability to continue as a going concern,” had reached an agreement earlier in March with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. to protect its pension fund assets following the sale of Sears' Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker Inc.

Under the agreement, the U.S. defined benefit plan will receive a $250 million contribution from Stanley Black & Decker, due in three years, and a 15-year income stream from Stanley Black & Decker's future sales of Craftsman products.