Wesfarmers is the largest employer in Australia, with more than 200,000 employees across the country. Official records announced a record net profit of $1.05 billion for 2006 with operating costs of $8.9 billion (prior to the Coles Group takeover).
On 2 July 2007, Wesfarmers announced it was purchasing the Coles Group retail business for A$22 billion making it the largest successful take-over in Australian corporate history.. Wesfarmers officially took control of Coles on 23 November 2007, after paying almost A$20 billion for the company.
By the 1940s the company's work included "being wheat and general merchants; country distribution for Commonwealth Oil Refineries Ltd; wool, live stock, skin and produce auctioneers; grain & fruit exporters; insurance underwriters; acquiring agents for the wheat pool of W.A." Known as Westralian Farmers Limited, it had premises in various locations within the Perth central business district. In the 1940s there were premises at 563-571 Wellington Street. They also had premises at Newman Street in Fremantle.
In 1991, 19 m³ of the records of the Westralian Farmers Co-operative were deposited with the J S Battye Library in Perth.
A name change in 1985 to Wesfarmers Limited coincided with its restructuring from a co-operative to a public company when it was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Gas and energy interests include Kleenheat Gas, Wesfarmers LPG, which owns and operates a liquefied petroleum gas extraction plant facility in Kwinana, Western Australia, Coregas, EnGen (Energy Generation) and a minority interest in Air Liquide WA (ALWA).
Wesfarmers LPG is also building a Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) plant on their existing site at Kwinana. Wesfarmers is committing $138 MM AUS to the project which will be in full production by Feb 2008.
Wesfarmers Federation Insurance began as the insurance department of Westralian Farmers Co-operative in 1919, and in 1982 became its own company, wholly owned by Wesfarmers Limited. In 1991 it acquired Federation Insurance. It is predominantly a rural insurer, although since 1990 it has gained a commercial client base and also has a smaller domestic insurance business. Wesfarmers is one of few insurers offering Workers Compensation insurance in Western Australia. Wesfarmers Federation Insurance has over 80 branches and in 2008 changed its positioning statement from We're never far away to Good people to know.
Your Insurance Group, a budget insurer, was acquired in 2007.
The food, liquor and convenience division comprises the majority of the former Coles Group assets. These include Coles, Pick 'n Pay Hypermarkets and BI-LO Supermarkets, Liquorland, Liquorland Express, Vintage Cellars, Coles Express and 1st Choice Liquor Superstores.
Owns a 50% interest in Gresham Partners, a corporate finance business focused on mergers and acquisitions.
Owns a 50% interest in Wespine Industries, a softwood sawmill operation at Dardanup, Western Australia.
Owns a 50% interest in Loyalty Pacific, which operates the FlyBuys loyalty program.