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Pension Funds

Sears transfers $512 million in pension liabilities in second annuity buyout with MetLife

Sears Holdings Corp., Hoffman Estates, Ill., purchased a second group annuity contract from MetLife to transfer about $512 million in U.S. defined benefit plan liabilities, said a Sears spokesman in an email.

Under the agreement made this month, MetLife will pay future benefits to roughly 20,000 retirees.

Sears noted in a news release that the transaction is expected to have "an immaterial impact on the funded status of (its) total pension obligations, but will serve to further reduce the size of the company's combined pension plan, reduce future cost volatility and reduce future plan administrative expenses."

In May, Sears announced a separate annuity contract with MetLife to transfer about $515 million in U.S. DB liabilities for about 51,000 retirees.

As of Jan. 28, Sears' U.S. pension assets totaled $3.57 billion and projected benefit obligations, $5.17 billion, for a funding ratio of 69.1%, up from 60.5% the prior year, according to its most recent 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.