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Pension Funds

Merck to contribute $200 million to global pension plans

Merck & Co. Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., plans to contribute about $200 million to its global defined benefit plans in 2019, the company disclosed in its 10-K filing on Wednesday.

The company said in the filing it plans to contribute about $50 million to its U.S. plans and $150 million to its non-U.S. plans. Merck contributed $378 million and $167 million, respectively, to its U.S. and non-U.S. plans in 2018.

As of Dec. 31, U.S. DB plan assets totaled $9.648 billion, while projected benefit obligations totaled $10.62 billion, for a funding ratio of 90.8%, down from 91.5% the previous year. Non-U.S. DB plan assets as of that same date totaled $8.6 billion, while projected benefit obligations totaled $9.1 billion, for a funding ratio of 94.5%, down from 98.5% the previous year.

In 2018, the discount rate for U.S. pension and other postretirement benefit plans was 4.4%, up from 3.7% in 2017. The international pension plan discount rate for 2018 was 2.2%, up from 2.1% a year earlier.

The target allocation ranges of Merck's U.S. DB and other postretirement benefit plans are 30% to 50% domestic equities, 15% to 30% international equities, 30% to 45% fixed income, and up to 5% cash and other investments.