Business figures just don’t add up

JUST 29 per cent of companies listed on the Western Australian Stock Exchange have recorded an operating profit at the end of the 2000/2001 financial year, according to research compiled for the Business News Book of Company Lists 2002.

This equates to 89 of the 300 companies listed in the Business News Book of Company Lists recording operating profits for 2000/2001. The combined total of these profits was $2232 million, an increase of $698 million on total profits recorded by publicly listed companies for the 1999/2000 financial year.

The highest operating profits were recorded by Woodside Petroleum Limited, Wesfarmers Limited, Bank of Western Australia, Iluka Resources and Aquarius Platinum. These companies posted profits of $966.6 million, $251.6 million, $135.6 million, $95.6 million and $68.18 million respectively.

All of these companies, except the Bank of Western Australia, recorded significant increases on their operating profits for the 1999/2000 financial year. Woodside Petroleum reported an increase of 191 per cent when compared with last financial year, while Aquarius Platinum also was a stand-out performer with an increase of 165 per cent.

In terms of market capitalisation, all five companies were ranked in the top 10 of the Deloitte Touche Tomatsu 1Stock Exchange Index, with Wesfarmers Limited, Woodside Petroleum and Bank of Western Australia ranked first, second and fourth respectively. Iluka Resources was ranked eighth and Aquarius Platinum ninth.

Wesfarmers Limited was the biggest mover in regard to market capitalisation, with figures as at December 31 last year of $11,473 million dollars compared with $4330 million at December 31 2000. This increase of 264 per cent comes from the share price leaping from a low last year of $16.20 to a year high of $32.20. The shares are now selling for $30.52.

Bank of Western Australia also significantly improved its market capitalisation, from $1943 million as of December 31 2000, to $2281 million in December 2001, an increase of 117 per cent.

Woodside Petroleum was the only company from the top five profit making companies that did not improve its market capitalisation, recording a fall from $9833 million to $8927 million, as its share price settled back to $13.22 from a 2001-year high of $16.45.

Of the 211 companies that reported an operating loss for the 2000/2001 financial year, the five biggest losses were recorded by Equatorial Mining ($209.10 million), Ananconda Nickel ($83.34 million), Southpointe Limited ($53.42 million), New Tel Limited ($52.31 million) and Durban Roodeport Deep Limited ($39.19 million).

Even though Durban Roodeport Deep Limited posted a substantial loss, its market capitalisation compared with December 31 2000 increased 332 per cent, from $121 million to $402 million.

The combined losses of all 211 companies, totals $1309 million dollars, which is a decrease of $705 million when compared with the total losses of $2014 million for the 1999/2000 financial year.

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