WA this week – 10 years ago

Western Australian-based Wesfarmers’ outlook for the remainder of the financial year looked “fairly strong”, this week, ten years ago. Wesfarmers third quarter results were bolstered by an abnormal one-time gain of $12.9 million attributable to profit on the sale of investments. The result compared with a year-earlier abnormal loss of $22.4 million arising from the closure of a coal mine. Profit before abnormal items and tax rose 15 per cent to $131.3 million over the nine months according to the company. Wesfarmers shares were at $9.46, a substantial discount to their present value of $36, reflecting its position as one of WA’s most successful listed companies. BHP Petroleum said that production from its onshore gas project near Onslow had been halted while significant modifications were made. The company had not delivered gas from the plant since early April that year, and chances were BHP said, that it could be offline for another two months. Oil explorer Petroz was investigating an option to build a 200km gas pipeline to the extreme north coast of WA. While considered unlikely, the pipeline would transport gas from a well drilled by Phillips . Media man Kerry Stokes further raised his stake in the Seven Network to become the biggest shareholder in the Australian television broadcaster, 24 hours after it accused him of destabilising the company. Stokes spent about $40 million to raise his stake to 17.5 per cent from 13.2 per cent, overtaking Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp’s holding of nearly 15 per cent. Mr Stokes, who made his first foray into Seven a month earlier, filed a notice to convene a shareholder meeting in which he would seek admission to the board of directors. Police investigating an attack that killed 12 people and sickened 5,500 had gathered evidence believed to point towards a nerve gas attack on sheep at a ranch in remote WA. Then Police Minister, Bob Wiese said police had found residues of chemicals used to make the gas in 24 dead sheep on a property in Leonora. While there were many sceptics, some believed the attack was motivated by a Japanese cult responsible for a deadly Tokyo subway attack one month earlier.

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