Lee Enterprises Is Offloading $86 Million In Pension Liabilities

Lee Enterprises has apparently taken a page from Gannet Corp. in seeking to transfer millions of dollars in pension liabilities.  

Lee said in an SEC filing that it has executed “a risk transfer agreement in September 2022 buying annuity contracts for $86 million of our pension obligations.” 

The firm also reports that pension plans are “now frozen and fully funded in the aggregate and not expecting any material pension contribution in 2022.”

“As of Sept. 26, 2021, the company's pension plan assets totaled $398 million, while projected benefit obligations totaled $384 million, for a funding ratio of 103.6%, according to its most recent 10-K filing with the SEC,” writes Pensions & Investments in covering the news.  

Lee cited $20 million in debt reduction in the first nine months of 2022 and $113 million since refinancing in March 2020. The debt in Q3 of 2020 was $576 million, and is now $463 million, it says. 

In August, Gannett Media Corp. said in an SEC filing that it had transferred $450 million of its pension liabilities to two unnamed insurers. 

The unnamed insurers will have responsibility for payments, administrative and customer service as of Nov. 1, the firm stated. Benefits will not be reduced, it added.




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