Wheat exporter AWB Limited has announced a rise in net profit after tax for the year ended 30 September 2005, with diversified activities making up for the effect of reduced wheat export volumes.

Net profit after tax was AUD157.1 (US$115.8m), compared with AUD96.9m the year before. Total revenue was AUD5.157bn, compared with AUD5.345m last year.

“Clearly, diversification is paying dividends for AWB and its shareholders,” said managing director Andrew Lindberg.  “This year’s results include pleasing contributions from Landmark’s rural services business as well as from our financial services offering. This has allowed us to deliver a 19% increase in NPAT before significant items, despite having significantly lower wheat volumes from the 2004/05 harvest and late rains for the current cropping season.”

“This is the first time AWB has been able to increase its year on year profit when it has received lower year on year wheat volumes,” Lindberg said. “With more diverse streams of income AWB is less reliant upon the size of the Australian wheat crop. Our strategy remains to strengthen our core business and pursue sustainable growth in areas of commodity management, financial services and rural services.”

Profitability from trading and commodities was reduced due to less favourable trading conditions in the ocean freight market and the domestic grain market.