04 August 1999
Surprise rise at Aussie group

WESFARMERS, the diversified Australian industrial, retail and agricultural group, surprised markets yesterday (Tuesday) with better-than-expected earnings for the year to June.

Annual net profit rose 8.1% to A$179.4 million (£72.4m) on a 3% increase in sales to A$2.8bn (£1.1bn). But it reported lower earnings in fertilisers, chemicals and rural services.

The group said it planned to buy back up to 5% of its issued share capital over the next six months.

It also planned to diversify further by investing A$100m (£40m) in a new, privately owned equity fund.