Mixed results for WA’s leaders

IT has been positive news for most of Western Australia’s top 20 publicly listed companies that have lodged their half-yearly reports.

Indeed, it appears to be good news for most of WA’s listed players with an Ernst & Young survey showing a 45 per cent fall in the number of profit warnings compared to the previous half.

The survey also found a 13 per cent fall in profit warnings compared to the previous corresponding half.

Wesfarmers, WA’s largest listed company, has led the market announcing a record profit for the half-year ended December 31 of $601 million.

That result included an after tax profit of $304.3 million from the sale of its rural business Landmark to the Australian Wheat Board in August.

Woodside has reported an after tax profit of $526.7 million.

The company has announced a final dividend of 25 cents a share fully franked. That makes the total dividend for 2003 46 cents.

The result was built on the back of production of 58.9 million barrels of oil equivalent, which exceeded the 2003 production target of 55Mboe by 7.1 per cent and a net operating cashflow of $1,202.9 million.

Sons of Gwalia disappointed the market even though it reported a markedly improved profit on the previous comparable period.

SoG reported a profit of $12.2 million – a 70 per cent increase on the previous corresponding period.

However, the market was not happy with what was seen to be a "soft" result and stripped a fair bit of value from the company’s shares.

West Australian Newspapers Holdings reported a net half-yearly profit of $38 million.

That result came from earnings before tax and significant items of $57.4 million.

However, the company also spent $3.4 million in redundancy costs in the six months to December 31.

Integrated Group reported an after tax half-yearly profit of $6.2 million for the half year, up from $4.4 million in the prior corresponding period.

The result was achieved on revenue of $168.7 million, up from $147.1 million.

Integrated chairman Neil Hamilton said the result was in line with its expectations and contained non-recurring reductions to the income tax expense of $1 million due to the impact of the tax consolidation regime and a prior year tax adjustment.

He said that meant the normalised profit was $5.2 million but the company remained on target to achieve its full year forecast.

Shipbuilder Austal revealed a half-yearly after tax and outside equity interests profit of $3 million, a marked improvement on the corresponding period last year.

However, revenue for the half year was down 6.7 per cent on the previous corresponding period and has been attributed to the reduction in luxury motor yacht production.

The company does expect this to be partly offset by the increase in production at Austal USA.

Monadelphous Group has again enjoyed good results, reporting a half-yearly after tax profit of $3.99 million. That is an increase of 23 per cent. The company has announced a fully franked 11 cent dividend.

Minara Resources, the company that was Anaconda, has posted a strong "maiden" net operating profit of $57.5 million for the six months to December 31.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and abnormals was $71.7 million, based on revenues of $198 million and best-to-date nickel production of 15,793 tonnes.

After having to pay out a $19.1 million claim to Central Exchange – that cost was shared by its Murrin Murrin joint venture partner Glencore – and repaying the Glencore working capital facility ahead of time, the company had $42 million in the bank at the end of January and was debt free.

Schaffer Corporation recorded a net profit of $10.1 million for the first half of the 2004 financial year.

The company’s result included a $2.3 million after-tax profit generated by selling interests in six investment properties.


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