NETHERLANDS - The €3.9bn pension fund of paints giant Akzo Nobel returned 9.4% on investments during the third quarter of 2009, raising its cover ratio to 110%.

The scheme's investments have so far returned 13.1% this year, and its funding ratio has recovered from an absolute low of 90% at the end of the first quarter. Its cover ratio was at 160% two years ago.

The 41.6% equity portfolio has continued to be the best performing asset class this year and returned 20.8% by the end of September, according to the scheme.

Its fixed income allocation of 42.9% also delivered a 2.3% return during the third quarter and 6.8% year-to-date.

In contrast, the pension fund's 5% commitment to commodities investments produced a negative returns of 0.4% in the third quarter, but it's the strategy has returned 21.9% over the year.

Stichting Pensioenfonds Akzo Nobel's property investments also returned 7.9% over three months, said the pension fund in a statement, while the scheme's strategy of hedging both currency and interest rate risks contributed 1.5% tt its quarterly returns.

The pension fund has investments hedged against the US dollar, the Japanese yen and the British pound, although no further details about the extent of the hedge were available.

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