SWEDEN- The 210 billion-crown (22.8 billion-euro) pension provider AMF Pension has reported a return of 4.3% in the first half of the year - compared with last year’s first half result of 5.8%.

A spokesman for AMF, owned jointly by the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and the Swedish Trade Union Confederation, said the result compared well with the average four percent return reported by competitors.

“Everything is relative to the market,” said the spokesman, who also stressed AMF ‘s earnings in the first six months was in the region of 7.9 billion crowns. He also said the total administration cost was 0.19%, the lowest in the market.

The life insurance balanced portfolio returned a total of 8.6 billion crowns, compared with 10.3 billion crowns a year ago. Of this, 8.1% comes from the equities portfolio, comprising Swedish and foreign equities and 1.8% from bonds, comparing with last year’s five per cent.

Consolidated capital from the defined contribution business amounts to 8.5 billion crowns, up 100 million crowns, while capital from defined benefits is in the region of 10.2 billion crowns, when in the first six months of last year it was 7.5 billion crowns.

Last year, the spokesman also said, AMF was chosen as pension provider by phone firm Ericsson.

This year, AMF has been tapped again with two more pension providers by telecommunications supplier Ericsson, Sony, Electrolux, packaging solutions producer Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget and Astra Zeneca.

This means that a total of 11,000 employees could chose AMF among the three proposed providers for their “traditional insurance” pension arrangements.

AMF has recently called for the government to inform the Swedish public more thoroughly on its pension options and for politicians to take on more responsibility for the 2000 pension reform, which a spokeswoman for the pension provider said was not grasped by that the public.