WESFARMERS has budgeted to double its capital expenditure in the current financial year to more than $900 million, including a major expansion of its ammonium nitrate plant at Kwinana. Newly installed managing director Richard Goyder provided details of Wesfarmers’ capital spending plans when announcing another record profit for the diversified business. Net profit increased to $618.3 million in the year to June 2005, a rise of 9 per cent after excluding the one-off gain in the previous year from the sale of its Landmark business. The key drivers behind the profit growth were its energy division, helped by higher coal export prices, and its insurance division. The Bunnings hardware division, which had been the earnings powerhouse in prior years, achieved an 8.6 per cent increase in earnings. Mr Goyder said the biggest part of its capital spending plans was an expansion of its Queensland coal mining operations. Wesfarmers also plans to expand Bunnings through 10 to 14 new stores per year and refurbishments of existing stores. The expansion of CSBP’s ammonium nitrate production capacity is expected to cost about $150 million, and is subject to completion of a feasibility study.
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