WestRock Co., Atlanta, will freeze its remaining salaried and non-union hourly defined benefit plan participants to future benefit accruals effective Dec. 31, the company disclosed in its 10-K filing with the SEC on Monday.
The company said while certain plans for both salaried and non-union hourly employees have been frozen in the past, “nearly all of our remaining salaried and non-union hourly employees accruing benefits will cease accruing benefits as of December 31, 2020,” the filing said. John Stakel, senior vice president and treasurer, said in a telephone interview that WestRock’s union employee pension plans remain open.
It is the latest in a series of pension derisking efforts by WestRock, which was formed in 2015 by the merger of Rock-Tenn Co., Norcross, Ga., and MeadWestvaco Corp., Richmond, Va.
The company in September 2016 purchased a group annuity contract from Prudential Insurance Co. of America to transfer about $2.5 billion of U.S. defined benefit plan liabilities. While there are no plans for further derisking transactions, Mr. Stakel said “we are always thinking of ways to transfer risk when it makes sense.”
As of Sept. 30, U.S. pension plan assets totaled $5.4 billion, while projected benefit obligations totaled $5.3 billion, for a funding ratio of 102%, according to the 10-K filing.
As of that same date, non-U.S. pension plan assets totaled $1.418 billion, while PBO totaled $1.472 billion, for a funding ratio of 96.3%, according to the filing.