Lockheed Martin transfers $4.9 billion in pension obligations to Athene Holdings

France's second KC-130J Super Hercules aerial refueler takes off from Lockheed Martin's facility in Marietta, Georgia, upon delivery in 2019.France's second KC-130J Super Hercules aerial refueler takes off from Lockheed Martin's facility in Marietta, Georgia, upon delivery in 2019 (photo provided courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin, a major employer in Cobb County, announced in a press release that they have purchased $4.9 billion in group annuity contracts from Athene Holdings “a leading financial services company specializing in retirement solutions.”

This has the effect of reducing Lockheed Martin’s gross pension obligation by the $4.9 billion amount of the purchase, according to the company press release.

The company states this will result in no change of benefits received by retirees and beneficiaries.

For information on the changes that occur when a company purchases annuities, see this article from the Pension Rights Center.

For more detailed information read the excerpt from the press release from Lockheed Martin reprinted below:

BETHESDA, Md., Aug. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT) today announced it has purchased group annuity contracts from Athene Holding Ltd. (NYSE: ATH), a leading financial services company specializing in retirement solutions, to transfer approximately $4.9 billion of Lockheed Martin’s pension obligations and related plan assets for approximately 18,000 U.S. retirees and beneficiaries to Athene. The contracts were purchased using assets from Lockheed Martin’s master retirement trust and no additional funding contribution was required as part of this transaction.  

On Jan. 1, 2022, Athene will begin paying and administering the retirement benefits of certain retirees and beneficiaries in the Lockheed Martin Corporation Salaried Employee Retirement Program and the Lockheed Martin Aerospace Hourly Pension Plan. The transaction will result in no changes to the benefits received by retirees and beneficiaries. Affected retirees and beneficiaries will receive a letter with additional details about the transfer.

In connection with this transaction, the company expects to recognize a non-cash, non-operating settlement charge of approximately $1.7 billion ($1.3 billion, or $4.75 per share, after tax) in the third quarter of 2021, primarily related to the accelerated recognition of actuarial losses for the affected plans. The actual settlement charge will depend on finalization of the actuarial assumptions, including discount rate and investment rate of return, as of the measurement date. This non-cash, non-operating settlement charge was not included in the company’s prior 2021 financial outlook announced on July 26, 2021.

Lockheed Martin and Cobb County

The Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta has been a major employer in Cobb County since 1951, when the Lockheed Corporation, a predecessor of Lockheed Martin, took over the former site of the WWII Bell Bomber plant.

In response to a request by the Courier for a previous article, the spokesperson for the Marietta operations of the company wrote:

The C-130 remains the largest program at the Marietta site. We are currently building the C-130J Super Hercules and I’ve attached our updated Fast Facts for insights on that program. We’ve produced every production model C-130 at the Marietta site, which means Hercs have been rolling out of Marietta for almost 66 years. It’s staple here in Cobb County! You can learn more about the C-130J in our brochure located here.

We also provide support (i.e., sustainment) for the C-5 Galaxy, which wrapped up a major modification providing 52 C-5s with new engines and avionics, in 2018. We celebrated the C-5’s 50th anniversary in 2018 and expect to see that aircraft in service – thanks to its upgrades and unique hauling capabilities – until 2045. See press release for more information. We also support the P-3 Orion through Marietta-based teams. Additionally, we manufacture F-35 center wings here in Marietta.

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