DENMARK - PensionDanmark has reported a 3.6% return on investments in the third quarter, beating its benchmark by 0.3 percentage points.

It's now grown to DKK58.9bn (€7.9bn), 17% up from a year ago.

"The return on assets before taxes was 3.6%," it said in its quarterly report. It added: "The return has been satisfying compared to the development of the market, which has been characterized by declining bond prices and a rising equity market."

The fund said the performance against benchmark was "primarily due to a lower interest-rate sensitivity than benchmark".

And there was a positive contribution from equities (34.3% of the total portfolio), where the 8.1% return beat the benchmark by 0.2 points.

Private equity returned 10.8%, high-yield 3.4% and index-linked bonds 0.9%. Nominal bonds (38.2% of the portfolio) came in at 0.4%.

Hedge funds and real estate returned 4.2% and 5.3% respectively.

"The positive growth in members and premiums has continued in the third quarter of 2006," said chief executive Torben Möger Pedersen.

"The growth reflects the higher employment in the businesses, whose pension schemes are administered by PensionDanmark.

"With a result of DKK1.4bn for the first three quarters, and with the strong consolidation, an expected deposit rate at 6.0% after taxes will be maintained."

PensionDanmark has more than 500,000 members who are employed in 35,000 private and public companies.

Elsewhere, Danske Bank's Danica Pension unveiled what termed a "modest" 1.2% return on customer funds in the first nine months, against 11.4% a year before.

It said: "The return was affected by the increase in prices on the equity and fixed income markets in the third quarter of 2006, including the higher market value of interest rate instruments employed to hedge minimum obligations under insurance contracts."