GERMANY - Siemens says it made a return on its pension assets of an annualised 3.4% in the first nine months - as against an expected annual return of 6.7%.

The industrial group said the estimated underfunding of its principal pension plans as of June 30 this year was around €3.5bn - approximately the same as at the end of fiscal 2005.

"Pension service and interest costs were offset by regular employer contributions and an actual return on plan assets in the first nine months of €531m.

"This total represents a 3.4% return on an annualized basis, below the expected annual return of 6.7%."

In January the Munich-based firm said it had cut its pension underfunding to €3.1bn, alongside a more than €400m return on assets. At the time it reported plan returns of €443m, or 8.9% on an annualized basis.

The industrial group has previously announced €1.5bn in supplemental cash pension contributions to its funds.

Elsewhere, aerospace firm EADS has made an unspecified cash contribution into the EADS Deutschland GmbH pension fund.It said pension provisions fell €79m to €3.8bn - "resulting from a cash contribution" to the fund. A spokeswoman declined to be more specific.