17 Aug 2012

Wesfarmers profit up 10.6%

6:04 am on 17 August 2012

Wesfarmers has posted a rise in annual profit of 10.6%, largely driven by Coles, its supermarket division.

The Western Australian comglomerate reported a net profit of $A2.13 billion for the past financial year.

Coles supermarkets backed up 2011 earnings growth of 21.2% with a 16.6% rise to $A1.36 billion in the past financial year.

Overall, Wesfarmers' retail division posted pre-tax and pre-interest earnings of $A2.79 billion, up 10.3% on the previous year.

The Bunnings hardware division saw profits up 4.9%, Kmart recorded a 31.4% rise and Officeworks booked a 6.3% gain.

Target's earnings were down 12.9%, but were static when a one-off restructuring cost is excluded.

The company's resources division also posted a strong 19% rise in earnings to $A439 million due to high coal prices in the first half of the financial year. Higher shipments helped to offset lower prices in the second half.

Wesfarmers says its chemicals, energy and fertilisers division also recorded earnings growth of 7.1%.

However, the company's insurance division saw its earnings decline due to an increase in reserve provisions for the Christchurch earthquake.

Wesfarmers shares rose 3.3% to $33.57 on Thursday.