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Pension Risk Transfer

AK Steel transfers $280 million in pension liabilities with group annuity purchase

Mounds of coking coal sit piled near a blast furnace at the AK Steel Holding Corp. mill in Middletown, Ohio.

AK Steel Corp., West Chester, Ohio, purchased a group annuity contract from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. to transfer about $280 million in pension liabilities, spokeswoman Lisa H. Jester said in an email.

The transaction took place this month, according to a 10-Q filing with the SEC on Oct. 26. AK Steel transferred the liabilities of about 5,400 retirees and beneficiaries to the insurance company. It is the third pension buyout for the steel company, which purchased two group annuity contracts in 2016 from a single unnamed insurance company to transfer a total of $210 million in pension liabilities.

AK Steel completed this latest buyout "to further our efforts to derisk our balance sheet," the filing said.

As of Dec. 31, AK Steel's pension plan assets totaled $2.322 billion, while projected benefit obligations totaled $2.808 billion, for a funding ratio of 82.7%.