The Chairman of AWB Limited, Brendan Stewart today announced a record after-tax profit of $107.2 million for the year ended 30 September 2002. This result represents a 28% increase on the 2000/01 reported after tax profit of $83.7 million.
Earnings per share increased by 15% to 39.2 cents per share.
"The Board has declared a fully franked final dividend of 11 cents per share, payable on 20th December 2002," said Mr Stewart.
"When added to the interim dividend of 14 cents per share the total dividend paid to shareholders for the year is 25 cents, which is an increase of 3 cents per share compared to the prior year. The board of director’s policy is to maintain a stable dividend payment subject to financial performance," said Mr Stewart.
AWB Limited’s Managing Director, Mr Andrew Lindberg, said AWB’s financial performance is very pleasing for AWB’s second full year as a listed company.
"Total operating revenue of $2.33 billion is up 19% on the prior year’s $1.96 billion due to higher traded volumes and grain values," said Mr Lindberg.
"A number of strategic initiatives implemented during the year contributed to the strong result, including strengthening AWB’s chartering business, strong performance of AWB’s domestic trading division and the largest ever loan book for Harvest Payment due to the second largest wheat crop on record of 24.5 million tonnes.
"We have strengthened our position in the supply chain by opening six new AWB Grain Centres for the 2001/02 harvest and we recently opened nine new AWB Grain Centres for the 2002/03 harvest, which is aimed at reducing supply chain costs for growers and providing a commercial return on these investments," said Mr Lindberg.
AWB’s earning prospects for the 2002/03 financial year will be significantly impacted by the current drought, which will reduce the 2002-03 domestic wheat production to less than half of 2001/02’s harvest.
"AWB continues to evaluate opportunities to achieve its objective of diversifying earnings while maintaining our core grain focus and today AWB announces that it has acquired on market 29.5 million shares (4.8%) in Futuris," said Mr Lindberg.
"This strategic investment in Futuris makes good business sense due to a number of complementary business streams and represents good value at current prices.
In addition, AWB will continue to work towards diversifying its revenue streams.
"We have expanded the existing suite of finance and risk management products with the launch of three new AWB National Pool Payment Options for the 2002/03 harvest,” said Mr Lindberg.
"These new products will help us maintain our market share in the face of increased competition," said Mr Lindberg.
The directors are confident that the ongoing focus on financial performance will continue to deliver satisfactory investment returns to AWB’s shareholders.
For further detail on AWB Limited’s profit results visit AWB website, www.awb.com.au, and click on Investor Relations section and look under financial results.