DENMARK - Danish independent pensions provider AP Pension saw its pension contributions surge last year, thanks to inflows of bulk new business won from several new corporate customers, the organisation said.

Gross contributions were up 40.6% at the end of 2007 compared with the same time a year ago, the firm said in its annual results announcement.

"The growth includes a trebling of one-off contributions, and a rise in ongoing contributions of just under 9%," AP Pension said.

"A closer look at the figures shows that AP Pension has gained many new business customers, which have transferred the whole of their pension savings to AP Pension."

The provider went on to say new business would have a positive effect on this year's numbers as well as those of 2007.

"While all one-off contributions are included in the 2007 accounts, this is only a part of the ongoing contributions," it said. "Therefore AP Pension expects there to be a distinctly positive effect on the ongoing contributions in 2008."

In absolute terms, gross contributions rose to DKK2.561bn (€340m) in 2007 from DKK1.821bn the year before. Within that, ongoing contributions rose to DKK1.531bn from DKK1.408bn, while one-off contributions climbed to DKK1.031bn from DKK413bn in 2006.

Managing Director Hans Boye Clausen described the growth as a "breakthrough" for AP Pension.

"The figures clearly show that the market has woken up to the quality that AP Pension's products have and to AP Pension's status as a customer-owned, independent pensions company," he said.

Investments returned 3.8% before tax for 2007, down from 4.7% in 2006 but equities returned 11.5%, as overseas shares delivered a 12.8% return against a loss of 4.5% on domestic shares.

Return on bonds was 1.2%, while property generated a return 19.6%, including adjustments in real estate valuations.

At the year-end, assets under management totalled DKK28bn, with 33% of that in equities, 52% in bonds and 12% in property, AP Pension said.

Costs fell to 4.6% from 5.4% the year before, the firm said.

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