Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd posted record earnings in core divisions on Wednesday, sending its shares to a record high as investors glimpsed the rapid growth promised by a restructuring initiated by new managing director Rob Scott.
Although an inglorious exit from an ill-fated hardware expansion in Britain hammered full-year profit almost 60 percent lower, profit from continuing operations rose 5.2 percent to A$2.9 billion ($2.1 billion), beating market expectations.
Much of that rise was due to double-digit earnings growth in Wesfarmers' domestic hardware and department stores, which are set to become the company's core after its Coles supermarket chain is spun off as part of a major portfolio overhaul.
Coles' earnings fell 6.8 percent to their lowest in six years, buttressing management's decision to get out of the business.
"Finally the sum of the parts is starting to equal the whole," said James McGlew, executive director of Perth stockbroker Argonaut Ltd, which owns Wesfarmers shares.
Wesfarmers shares had jumped 3.2 percent to a record high of A$52.21 by 0505 GMT, while the broader market edged higher.