If shareholders sign off on the merger between H.G. Heinz Co.and Kraft Foods Group, it would mean the union of more than $13billion in defined benefit and defined contribution retirementassets.

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Kraft has the larger retirement plans of the two, byfar.

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As of the end of 2014, Kraft, which has 22,000 employees,projected its defined benefit pension obligation to be $8.3billion. Its plans held about $7.2 billion in assets, making for a$1.1 billion unfunded liability, according the company’s Securitiesand Exchange Commission filings.

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That liability was up dramatically from $271 million at the endof 2013, which the company said was largely owed to a 70-basispoint decrease in its discount rate.

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In the U.S., salaried and non-union hourly Kraft employees hiredbefore 2009 are eligible for the plan, but in Kraft’s 2014 filing,the company said it will freeze its pension plans at the end of2019 (and at the end of 2023 for Canadian workers).

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This year, the company plans to contribute about $195 million toits defined benefit pension plans, while it expects to pay outabout $401 million in pension benefits; it projects that about $5billion will be paid out by 2024.

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Kraft is counting on its plans returning 5.75 percent in 2015.In 2013, the plans began moving forward with a liability-driven investment strategy, shifting weight to fixedincome, with the ultimate aim of shifting 80 percent of assets intofixed income, according to filings with the SEC.

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Kraft Foods Thrift Plan, its defined contribution plan, heldabout $4.5 billion in assets in 2013, up marginally from the prioryear, according to the company’s SEC documents.

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The company kicked in about $56 million to the plan in 2013,while participants contributed about $92 million. About $778million in distributions were made in 2013. The plan reported about$4.8 million in “general and administrative” expenses.

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Participants are automatically enrolled at a 3 percent deferralrate, with automatic annual increases of 1 percent, which the plancaps once 6 percent of salary is deferred.

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For its part, Heinz has about $767 million in U.S. definedbenefit plans and about $669 million in U.S. defined contributionplans.

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In February 2013, the company was bought by Berkshire Hathawayand 3G Capital Management for about $28 billion, considered at thetime to be the largest acquisition in the food industry, accordingto CNBC.com.

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After the sale, the company announced several pension de-risking schemes, including plan consolidations, lump-sumoffers to the non-retirees in its defined benefit plans, and anannuity purchase.

The merger, if OK'd, would create a stable of household names --everything from Heinz ketchup to Jell-O -- with revenueof about $28 billion.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.