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Pension Funds

Altria lump-sum payments total about $277 million

Altria Group Inc., Richmond, Va., made about $277 million in lump-sum payments to former employees who are vested in its U.S. pension plan, the company disclosed in an 8-K filing with the SEC on Thursday.

The payments, made in December, were the result of an offer made in September to about 8,200 former employees vested in the plan, who were given the choice between lump sums or receiving early monthly annuity payments beginning in January 2018. The number of former employees who took either the lump sum or annuity payments was not disclosed.

As of Dec. 31, 2016, plan assets totaled $7.475 billion, while projected benefit obligations totaled $8.312 billion, for a funding ratio of 89.9%, according to the company's most recent 10-K filing.

Steve Callahan, company spokesman, could not be immediately reached to provide further information.