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German roundup: Nestlé Pensionskasse, Wacker Pensionskasse

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GERMANY - The German Pensionskasse for employees of Swiss food giant Nestlé saw returns of nearly 10% last year, increasing total assets by more than €30m.

The increase in assets comes despite transferring more than €80m of real estate holdings to a wholly owned property subsidiary, the scheme's annual report for 2010 showed.

Nestlé Pensionskasse (NPK) saw a slight dip of 0.3 percentage points in returns over 2009, but the scheme still saw net interest on its assets of 9.7%.

Total assets under management increased by €116m to €898m.

However, compared with the end of 2009, total assets only rose €34.2m, due to a one-off payment of €82.3m to the wholly owned property management subsidiary NPG to cover costs arising from the sale of the pension fund's property assets to NPG.
 
The annual report also said the scheme was considering an expansion of its ethical investments.

It said: "The supervisory board has launched a socially responsible investment (SRI) panel. The panel will examine if further overlap of SRI principles and so far employed indices is possible."

A recent survey by SD-M and Allianz Global Investors found that an increasing number of German pension schemes were embracing SRI investment strategies. 

Meanwhile, Wacker Pensionskasse, for the employees of the chemical company, posted returns of 6.9% last year, increasing assets under management to €1.4bn.

The scheme currently invests 6.5% in real estate, a 0.7 percentage point drop in assets invested in property over 2009, while the percentage of assets invested in equities fell from 54.1% to 46%.

The scheme explained this reduction by noting that the volatile stock market no longer compensated for the risk posed with adequate returns.

However, it added that strong contribution payments were strengthening the fund, with a strong outlook for the sponsoring company confirming its confidence.

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