A&B earnings hit $28.9M in ‘strong second quarter’

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Alexander & Baldwin Inc. said it earned $28.9 million, or 70 cents per share, in the second quarter.

President Stan Kuriyama called it “a strong second quarter” compared with the $12.6 million earned in the second quarter of 2009.

Revenue was $398.9 million, compared with $351.0 million for the year before.

On Maui, Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. made a sharp rebound after a bad 2009, which had the A&B board of directors considering whether to continue in sugar.

For the first half – a more informative period for comparison than just the second quarter – operating profit in agribusiness (which includes Kauai Coffee) rose by $13.9 million and net profit edged into the black at $700,000. Agribusiness had lost a net $13.2 million in the first half of 2009.

HC&S shut down its mill for an unusually long refit and it reorganized its plantings, which have been affected by drought for several years. Operational improvements combined with better prices for raw sugar turned losses into profits.

For the January-June period, Maui Brand specialty sugar sales were down $2 million and molasses sales were down $1.3 million, but power sales were up $1.5 million. Coffee sales increased by $1.5 million as well.

The big gains came from raw sugar, whose output was 31 percent higher, primarily from better growing conditions.

For the first half, net income for the whole company was $46.2 million, or $1.12 per share, compared to $15.6 million the year before.

First-half revenue was $743.6 million compared with $665.8 million the year before.

Kuriyama said Matson Navigation Co. and real estate sales improved, “highlighting the benefits of our market diversification.”

Matson is A&B’s biggest subsidiary, and while Hawaii traffic was relatively stable in the second quarter, China business drove operating profit up by 75 percent to $37 million. Revenue for the quarter was up nearly $30 million to $257 million.

Kuriyama said confidence in the China trade is so high that Matson has chartered five ships (of 3,500 TEU, or 20-foot container equivalents) to run weekly service between three ports in China and Long Beach.

By contrast, Hawaii container volume was down by 600 units to 33,700.

Automobile shipments, reflecting the very slow sales of new cars in the islands, dropped to 21,100 in the quarter compared to 27,200 in the same quarter a year ago.

However, Matson still moves more than twice as many containers to Hawaii as it does to China. Even Guam’s volume (4,200 in the past quarter) is nearly a third of the China volume.

Kuriyama said real estate states, episodic in nature anyway, were “relatively consistent” with last year and “well ahead on a year-to-date basis.”

Leasing results were down, reflecting pressure on rents due to economic sluggishness, although occupancy rates remain well below accustomed levels on the Mainland and slightly below usual levels in Hawaii.

In the second quarter, Mainland occupancy rates were 86 percent, up from 84 percent. Hawaii rates were down from 95 percent to 93 percent.

A&B earnings hit $28.9M in ‘strong second quarter’ – Mauinews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitor’s Information – The Maui News

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