The Chairman of AWB Limited, Brendan Stewart today announced a record after-tax profit of $77.1 million for the half-year ended 31 March 2002. This result represents a 47% increase on the prior corresponding half-year.
AWB’s earnings per share of 28.2 cents is 30% higher than the prior corresponding half-year.
The Board has declared a fully franked interim dividend of 14 cents per share to be distributed to shareholders on 5 July 2002 for shareholders registered as at 24 June 2002, which is the same distribution as the prior corresponding half-year. The Chairman also indicated that a higher final dividend will be paid compared with the 2001 full year.
AWB Limited’s Managing Director, Mr Andrew Lindberg, said the half-year profit result was a good outcome for shareholders and marked AWB’s successful transformation into a listed public company.
“The strong increase in earnings is a strong indicator of the support of growers who took advantage of finance and risk management products leading up to the harvest,” Mr Lindberg said.
“It is our growers, who are also our shareholders, who will continue to benefit from our expanding range of grower products combined with a commercial return on their investment in AWB,” Mr Lindberg said.
The major profit contributors for the half-year result were grain acquisition and trading, chartering and finance and risk management products to growers.
“AWB’s financial and risk management products continue to meet growers’ needs and AWB will launch a new range of finance and risk management products this season,” said Mr Lindberg.
“As part of AWB’s ongoing effort to get closer to its customers and create further value for the company we will open up a new office in Geneva, Switzerland later this year to pursue growth opportunities that support our global asset management strategy,” said Mr Lindberg.
As previously announced, the Board is forecasting a full year profit after tax result of between $100 million and $110 million for the full year ending 30 September 2002.
“We are on track to reach that forecast and the Board is confident that the ongoing focus on maximising grower returns and improving the financial performance of the company will continue to deliver satisfactory returns to AWB’s shareholders, the vast majority of whom are Australian wheat growers,” said Mr Lindberg.