Denmark’s second-biggest commercial pensions firm Danica Pension witnessed a 44% surge in premiums in its Swedish business in the first nine months of this year and 10% growth in Norway, and said it expected to make still more out of these markets.

Announcing interim figures for January to September, Per Klitgård, chief executive of the Danske Bank subsidiary, said: “We see further potential in both markets in the short as well as in the long term.”

He described the growth notched up by the two Nordic subsidiaries as a continuation of a positive trend.

At DKK1.49bn (€200m), Danica Pension’s pretax profit was below the DKK1.51bn figure reported for the same period last year.

But Klitgård said the result from the company’s insurance operations increased by 9% to DKK1.34bn before tax.

“The performance,” Danica said, “was adversely affected by the financial market turbulence experienced in the third quarter but favourably affected by improvement in the health and accident business.”

Investment returns were down sharply compared with last year, with the net return on customer funds for the with-profits Danica Traditionel pension plan just 0.6% in the nine-month period after 10% in the same period in 2014.

However, Danica said that, after it made a change to additional provisions, the return for Danica Traditionel was 3.2% compared with 5.5%.

Returns for the unit-link products Danica Balance and Danica Link came in at between 0.5% and 2.1% for the first nine months.

This is down from average returns for the two products reported at the half-year stage of 4.5% and 7.5%.

Overall, premiums rose to DKK22bn between January and September from DKK20.3bn in the year-earlier period.

Within Denmark alone, premiums fell slightly to DKK14.4bn from 14.8bn.

In Sweden, premiums were up 44% to DKK6.2bn, while in Norway premiums rose 10% to DKK1.4bn.

In both of these countries, the increases had been due to higher single premiums as well as a stronger inflow of new corporate customers early in the year.

It said it worked more closely with its parent Danske Bank in the two Nordic countries on selling pensions and comprehensive products to personal as well as business customers.

It also said it continued implementing its new investment strategy in the reporting period, aimed at generating long-term returns “at the top end of the market”.

The strategy includes more direct investment in companies and more alternative investments, including property.

Danica Pension’s total assets came to DKK355bn at the end of September 2015 from DKK353bn at the same point last year.

Danica is the country’s second-largest commercial pensions provider after PFA Pension.