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Pension Funds

General Mills to freeze U.S. pension plans at the end of 2027

Cheerios, a General Mills' product.
Cheerios, a General Mills' product.

General Mills Inc., Minneapolis, plans to freeze its U.S. defined benefit plans at the end of 2027, according to the company's annual report filed Thursday with the SEC.

Effective Jan. 1, 2028, active employees in the U.S. pension plans, which had a combined $5.925 billion in assets as of May 31, the end of General Mills' fiscal year, will not accrue additional benefits, according to the 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

General Mills has a 401(k) plan, the General Mills 401(k) Savings Plan, with $3.26 billion in assets as of Dec.31, 2015, according to the company's latest 11-K filing with the SEC.

The pension plan was closed to salaried new hires on June 1, 2013, said Bridget Christenson, General Mills spokeswoman. The plan will be closed to non-union production employees hired on or after Jan. 1, 2018.

The pension plans had a combined $6.459 billion in liabilities as of May 31, for a funded status of 92%; in the previous fiscal year, the plans had $5.54 billion in assets and $6.449 in liabilities for a funded status of 86%.

The company contributed $25 million to its pension funds in the year ended May 31; it does not expect to make a contribution in the fiscal year ending May 31, 2018, according to the 10-K.

The discount rate for its pension funds is 4.19%, down from 4.38% in fiscal 2017.

General Mills lowered its expected rate of return for fiscal 2018 to 7.95% from 8.17% in fiscal 2017, the filing said.