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Windfall For Wesfarmers After $1.1b Worth Of Coles Shares Sold Off

Wesfarmers who today sold off $1 billion worth of stock in Coles has been hit with new payment claims relating to their underperforming entity Target.

It was only yesterday that Coles was slammed for underpaying $20 billion to staff, now Wesfarmers has sold off $1.01 worth of shares, as the big Australian retailer has been hit with new claims of wage theft.

The move from Wesfarmer shaved 4.9 per cent off its shareholding in the struggling retail giant after it officially separated from the business in November 2018, leaving it with 10.1 per cent stake after the sale – leaving it with enough to maintain its right to nominate a director to the Coles’ board.

(AAP Image/Paul Braven)

Wesfarmers had been expected to sell some of its $200 million worth of shares in recent days.

Coles shares have increased 30.4 per cent since the company’s listing, marking a respectable win for Wesfarmers, with its remaining stake worth around $2.25 billion. But it faced anger from shareholders during the demerger, who had been accused the company of sitting on the fence.

Chief executive Rob Scott said the sale would deliver a strong return for Wesfarmer shareholders.

‘We believe this level of divestment is in the best interests of our shareholders and consistent with our objectives at the time of the demerger, which included demonstrating continued confidence in Coles’ future as a stand-alone listed company,’ Scott told the Sydney Morning Herald.

‘We have been pleased with the performance of Coles as an independently listed entity and believe it is an appropriate time to realise value for our shareholders while retaining a meaningful interest and ongoing connection with Coles, including representation on its board and through our flybuys joint venture.

In a statement, a Coles spokesperson said: ‘We note that our shareholder is pleased with our performance and we look forward to working further with them in the future.’

UBS and Macquarie Capital will manage the stake which is set to be sold off to institutional investors.

(AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

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