What to watch in Wesfarmers Ltd’s full year results

We are now just one month away from Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) releasing its full year results. The group is scheduled to announce its numbers to the market on August 24.

Having reported an 8.3% increase in net profit after tax (NPAT) from continuing operations (excluding non-trading items) for the prior financial year, the group’s profit growth rate declined to just 1.2% for the half year to December 31.

When Wesfarmers reports, all eyes will be on how weak the second half of the year was for the company’s multiple business divisions.

Declining EPS

The outlook for the full year result isn’t exactly rosy if analyst consensus estimates are to be believed.

According to one consensus forecast, earnings per share of 204.6 cents per share (cps) are expected to be reported which will represent a decline of approximately 5.3% on the prior year. (source: Reuters)

Flat Dividend

In respect of financial year (FY) 2015 Wesfarmers declared ordinary dividends totalling 200 cps. The interim dividend for FY 2015 was 89 cps and pleasingly for shareholders the interim dividend paid for FY 2016 was increased to 91 cps.

Despite the uptick in the interim dividend, analyst consensus estimates are forecasting a flat year-on-year pay-out of 200 cps (source: CommSec).

Supermarket Wars

When Wesfarmers acquired Coles, Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) was the clear leader in the supermarket sector, while Coles was clearly the underdog.

While competitive pressures are affecting both companies, Coles has still managed to grow largely thanks to strategic initiatives to rejuvenate its internal business model operations.

With earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) in the Coles division experiencing growth of 5.6% during the first half, there could still be some gains to squeeze out of the business for the full year results.

Booming Bunnings

Although the Coles division is the single largest contributor to Wesfarmers’ group profit, Bunnings is hot on its heels.

In the first half, Bunnings achieved EBIT growth of 13.8% to $760 million (Coles’ EBIT was $945 million) and investors will be looking for double-digit growth rates to be maintained for the full year.

What’s more, investors will be keen to hear more details of management’s plans for rolling out the Bunnings brand into the UK which has the potential to provide a long term growth opportunity.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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