Wesfarmers annual profit up 19 pct, beats f'cast

SYDNEY Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:27pm EDT

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SYDNEY Aug 20 (Reuters) - Australia's Wesfarmers Ltd reported a 19 percent rise in annual net profit on Wednesday, underpinned by the disposal of its insurance underwriting operations and strong sales growth at its Coles supermarket and Bunnings hardware retail businesses.

The coal-to-retail conglomerate posted net profit of A$2.69 billion ($2.5 billion) in the year to June, up from A$2.26 billion a year ago, beating an average forecast of A$2.4 billion from 14 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Wesfarmers said the sale of its insurance underwriting operations to Insurance Australia Group and the disposal of its 40 percent interest in gas equipment products firm Air Liquide WA bolstered after-tax profit by a combined A$1 billion. ($1 = 1.0762 Australian dollar) (Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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