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‘Staggering’ growth

WESTERN Australian stocks increased by 18 per cent in 2001 despite the worldwide economic downturn and the jolt of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

But figures are sometimes deceptive. Take out the 165 per cent increase in Wesfarmers market capitalisation and WA’s stock market, valued at around $42,312 million as at December 31, would have remained relatively flat.

Wesfarmers was the standout performer during the year, according the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu WA Stock Exchange Index. It increased its share of the WA-listed companies market capitalisation from 12 per cent to more than 25 per cent within the year.

The top seven $1,000 million-plus companies also increased their value, from 56.9 per cent of the total WA market at the beginning of the year to 69 per cent by the end of year.

The top seven companies had a combined worth of $29,215 million. The big drop out for the year was ERG Ltd, which fell from fourth spot to 11th as its market capitalisation plummeted by 73 per cent to just $463 million – a far cry from $1,702 million a year earlier.

Deloitte partner Peter McIver said the 18 per cent market growth of the WA companies was staggering compared with the Australian ASX All Ordinaries, which achieved 7 per cent growth.

Mr McIver also pointed to the success of individual standout companies and the growth of the mining sector through both new exploration success and global merger activity.

Wesfarmers may have had the biggest impact on the Index because of its size, but smaller companies performed better in terms of market capitalisation growth.

Chemeq Limited share price rose mid year on news that it had secured its first sale of polymeric antimicrobials, a $2 billion a year industry that is used for the control of E-coli infections. Its market capitalisation shot up by $76 million in the year to $88 million.

Resolute Limited’s share price pushed the market capitalisation up 300 per cent to just short of $70 million after it announced a 97 per cent upgrade in the mining reserves at its Golden Pride mine in Tanzia and bought an interest in Abore Mining Company.

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