NETHERLANDS - Alternative asset classes performed very well during the first quarter, the €83bn healthcare and social work scheme PGGM reported.

Private equity, property and commodities returned 6.6%, 6.3% and 5.7% respectively, contributing to an overall result of 2.1%. However, the total returns were affected by a negative liability hedge of minus 0.5%, the scheme said.

Equity and fixed income yielded 1.6% and 0.5% respectively.

"The results are in line with our long-term target return," said Else Bos, chief executive officer, investments. "Most markets have recovered reasonably well from the sharp decline in the Asian stock markets in particular."

PGGM's funding ratio rose by 4% to 138%. "The increase in the long-term interest rates more than offset the growth in liabilities from new pension rights," it stated.

PGGM has over 1.1m paying participants, 694,000 deferred members and 196,000 pensioners. The total of affiliated employers is 19,100.

Meanwhile, PMT, the €32bn industrywide pension fund for metalworking and mechanical engineering, reported returns of 2.3% and a rise of its coverage ratio to 140% for the first three months of 2007.

Its investments in equity (small caps), private equity and indirect real estate - with yields of 4%, 12% and 6.2% respectively - were the main contributors to the overall returns. Equity returned 2.3% overall.

PMT's large portfolio of euro bonds has suffered from the rising interest rates, returning slightly over zero, it made clear. Fixed income yielded 0.6% in total.

The metal scheme's investments in commodities, hedge funds and direct property showed modest returns of 4.5%, 2% and 2.6% respectively, it added.

PMT is the largest market-based pension fund in the Netherlands. It has over one million participants in total.