Employers saddled with swelling pension obligations and highergovernment fees on those liabilities are finding some relief in thecorporate debt market.

Delta Air Lines, Verizon Communications and FedEx have issuedmore than $14 billion in bonds this year in which some proceedswere flagged for bolstering their retirement programs, according todata compiled by Bloomberg. Last year, General Motors did the same,and International Paper had a debt sale as part of a plan to fundexpenses including pension costs.

Companies are looking to avoid the higher premiums required onliabilities by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., a governmentagency that acts as a backstop when plans fail. The cost perthousand dollars of unfunded benefits has more than tripled inrecent years, making it more attractive for employers to shift riskto bondholders.

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