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Pension Funds

Ecolab to shore up pension plans with $168 million contribution for 2019

Ecolab Inc., St. Paul, Minn., expects to contribute a total of $168 million to pension plans in 2019, the company disclosed in its 10-K filing with the SEC on Friday.

The company expects to contribute $120 million to its noncontributory qualified U.S. pension plan and $48 million to its international pension plans in 2019. Ecolab contributed $6 million to the U.S. plans and $42 million to the international plans in 2018.

As of Dec. 31, U.S. pension plan assets totaled $1.98 billion, while projected benefit obligations totaled $2.24 billion, for a funding ratio of 88.4%, down from 89.6% a year earlier. International pension plan assets as of that same date totaled $926 million, while projected benefit obligations totaled $1.44 billion, for a funding ratio of 64.4%, up from 63.8% a year earlier.

The discount rate for the U.S. plans in 2018 was 4.34%, up from 3.7% the previous year and the rate for the international plans in 2018 was 2.49%, up from 2.17% the previous year.

As of Dec. 31, the actual allocation of the company's U.S. pension plans was: 34% domestic large-cap equities, 19% core fixed income, 14% international equities, 9% domestic small-cap equities, 8% real estate, 7% private equity, 5% high-yield bonds and 2% each distressed debt and emerging markets equities. The international pension plans' actual allocation was: 45% international equities, 38% fixed income, 15% insurance contracts and 1% each, cash and real estate.