Wesfarmers flags $774m impairment

Writedown of Target's goodwill, Coles liquor restructure will erode profit from insurance sale.

Wesfarmers (WES) has announced impairment charges for Target and its Coles liquor division that will substantially erode the profit from the sale of its insurance businesses.

The retail giant expects a pre-tax net gain of approximately $261 million to $301m in its full-year results from non-trading items, despite selling its insurance broking and underwriting businesses for a profit of $1.035 billion to $1.075bn.

A $680m impairment charge to the goodwill associated with Target will eat into the insurance profits.

Wesfarmers also set aside $94m for restructuring in its liquor business, following media reports last month suggesting private equity firms were interested in buying the Vintage Cellars chain.

In December, IAG agreed to buy Wesfarmers' Australian and New Zealand underwriting operations for $1.845bn, while US-based Arthur J. Gallagher & Co agreed in April to buy Wesfarmer's broking and premium funding operations for $1.01bn.