AUSTRIA – APK, a €2bn pension fund open to all industries in Austria, is to take over administration of the Austrian pension fund of German carmaker BMW from January 2006.

APK said it would gain €50m in assets from the move. It made no further comment.

Located near an engine plant in Steyr, BMW’s Austrian pension fund has 2,700 contributing members and 100 pensioners.

Sources familiar with events said BMW was closing the fund at the end of the year in a bid to cut costs. Munich-based BMW declined to comment.

Following its closing, Austria will have 14 company-tied pension funds (Pensionskassen). APK is one of the country’s six industry-wide Pensionskassen.

Buoyed by a strong performance in equities, APK said its return for 2004 totalled 7% or above the average for other Austrian Pensionskassen.

Although APK did not detail its asset allocation, it said the strategy for all Austrian Pensionskassen was generally 34% equities, 65% fixed income and 1% real estate.

APK insures 70,000 Austrian employees and has 11,000 pensioners.