Sonoco Products Co., Hartsville, S.C., entered into an agreement to purchase group annuity contracts from Athene Annuity & Life Co. and Athene Annuity & Life Assurance Co. of New York to transfer about $900 million in U.S. pension plan liabilities.
The company's June 17 agreement with the Athene Holdings subsidiaries will transfer about 8,300 participants in the Sonoco Products Pension Plan for Inactive Participants, according to its 8-K filing with the SEC on Wednesday.
The agreement to transfer the benefit-paying responsibilities to the insurers completes the termination of the plan originally approved by Sonoco Products' board of directors in July 2019. The Athene subsidiaries will take those responsibilities effective Sept. 30, spokesman Roger Schrum said in an email.
The 8-K filing also disclosed the plan paid lump sums in May representing about $488 million in plan liabilities to about 2,250 participants who voluntarily elected the distribution of their benefits. The company had made an additional contribution of $83 million to the plan in April to enable the funding of the lump sums and annuity contracts.
As of Dec. 31, 2019, the Sonoco Pension Plan for Inactive Participants had $1.3 billion in assets, according to the plan's most recent Form 5500 filing.