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  • Progress sees assets decline

NETHERLANDS - Progress, the Dutch pension fund of Unilever, said its assets declined by €26m to €3.967bn by the end of 2007.

Presenting its annual results for 2007, the fund today added its total investment return for 2007 is 3.7%, which according to the fund is a "sharp decrease compared to the total return in 2006 (9.6%)".

The decrease is fully attributable to the considerably lower return on its equities portfolio - 56% of its assets - which showed a total return of 1.7%. That said officials state Progress was not directly impacted by the credit crisis as it does not invest in collateralised debt obligations (CDOs).

Fixed income - representing 29% of the fund's assets - returned 2% while property (15% of assets) made 12.1%.

Progress said its financial position has improved since last year however, as its coverage ratio increased by nine percentage points to 165%, "mainly as a result of a decrease in liabilities because of the increased interest rate".

Pension liabilities for 2007 decreased by €153m to €2.402bn, while pension payments amounting to €160m.

The financial position to mid-March 2008 was 145%, despite the recent decline in the financial markets in the beginning of 2008.

The fund also stated it will again deliver full indexation for 2008.

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Carolyn Bandel on +44 (0)20 7261 4622 or email carolyn.bandel@ipe.com

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