DENMARK – Profits at Denmark's biggest pensions provider PFA surged 178% in the nine months to September on the back of higher investment returns and increased business.

Pre-tax profit rose by DKK826m (€111m) in the nine-month period, up from DKK303m in the year previous.

Investments returned DKK25bn, up from DKK17.3bn, the company reported in its third quarter statement.

Chief executive Henrik Heideby said: "We have had significant growth in contributions, and that is due first and foremost to an increase in new customers."

Contributions rose by 20% to DKK16.3bn from January to September 2012, from DKK13.6bn in the same period last year.

Traditional with-profits pensions saw an 8.1% investment return, up from the 7.5% reported in the year-earlier period.

The return for unit-link pensions was 11.8% in the period, compared with a loss of 8%.

This is the first set of results where PFA has published a new key reporting figure, which it recently created in response to demand for easier comparability between different unit-link schemes on the Danish pensions market.

PFA's individual return on customer capital was 14.5% in the reporting period, almost twice the 7.7% reported for the same period in 2011.
Because PFA is a mutual company, customer capital forms a significant part of scheme members' overall pension returns.

All investment classes produced positive returns in the period despite slower growth in the global economy, recession in Europe and volatile financial markets, PFA said.

Corporate bonds and equities performed particularly well, it said, not least because of monetary easing in the euro-zone.

Danish equities produced a return of 28%.

Total assets under management grew to DKK352bn from DKK307bn.