Norway’s largest municipal pensions provider Kommunal Landspensjonskasse (KLP) has reported a 4.4% return on investments in the first nine months of this year and said this figure was higher when the rising value of its hold-to-maturity bonds and lending was taken into account.

On a value-adjusted basis, returns rose to 4.4% for January to September, up from 2% in the same period last year, but, including hold-to-maturity bonds and lending, it returned 4.9%, up from 1.2%, according to the pension fund’s interim report.

The returns are on its common portfolio, whose assets grew to NOK447.9bn (€48.7bn) at the end of September from NOK405.6bn at the same point last year.

This portfolio makes up most of KLP’s group assets of NOK589bn.

Sverre Thornes, the pension fund’s chief executive, described results achieved in the third quarter as “solid”, adding: “The good result enables us to maintain a lower level of premium than today’s very low interest rate level would suggest.”

KLP’s property investments in the common portfolio made a 7.8% return in the first nine months of this year, up from the 6.6% return reported for the same period last year.

Property made up 12.2% of the portfolio at the end of September.

Shares, which had a 20.3% weight, generated just 0.6% in the nine-month period, excluding currency effects, but were higher than the 1% loss in the comparable year-earlier period.

Taking account of currency effects, KLP said the return on shares was 4.8% over the period.

Short-term bonds produced a 5.5% return, up from 1.7%, while long-term bonds generated 3.2%, slightly below the 3.4% posted for the same period in 2015.

Lending, meanwhile, returned 1.8%, just down from 2%.

Short-term, long-term and hold-to-maturity bonds and lending made up 20.7%, 27.1% and 11.2% of the common portfolio, respectively, at the end of September.

KLP’s contributions rose strongly in a year-on-year comparison, with premium income – not including premium reserves it received on transfers in – climbed to NOK26.2bn between January and September from NOK22.7bn in the same period in 2015.

In the last few years, KLP has seen membership surge after commercial pension providers Storebrand and DnB Livsforsikring left the municipal pensions market, gaining public sector occupational pension contracts from 87 new municipalities and county administrations, and 346 businesses in a two-year period.