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Risk Management

Ball Corp. enters into annuity buyout with Prudential

Ball Corp., Broomfield, Colo., purchased a group annuity contract from Prudential Insurance Co. of America to transfer about $220 million in U.S. pension plan liabilities, said Renee Robinson, company spokeswoman, in an email.

The purchase closed on Aug. 22 and affects about 11,000 U.S. retirees from both Ball Corp. and Rexam PLC, which Ball Corp. purchased in 2016. The retirees represent a population that falls "below a certain monthly pension payment threshold in multiple U.S. plans," Ms. Robinson said. Prudential will begin making benefit payments in November.

Ball Corp.'s previous pension risk transfer transaction, according to its most recent 10-K filing, was a voluntary lump-sum offer in September 2014 to terminated vested participants who had yet to retire in its U.S. plans. The number of participants and amount of liabilities were not disclosed.

As of Dec. 31, the U.S. plans had $2.51 billion in assets and $3.19 billion in projected benefit obligations, for a funding ratio of 78.7%, according to the 10-K filing. That same filing said the company planned to contribute $180 million to those plans in 2017.