Land and Pineapple Co. (MLP)? HUH? That’s what I said, too, when I stumbled across the company a few months ago. Who would want to own this thing? A pineapple company? I hate pineapples.
Then I dug some more. Not surprisingly, the company’s pineapple business is mediocre at best. The company also operates another subsidiary, Kapalua Land Company, which manages the company’s scenic Kapalua Resort community. As per consolidated results, the company is generally profitable (although erratic in its earnings) and boasts AOL founder Steve Case as a large shareholder. But that’s not why I’m writing this.
It turns out the company currently owns around 27,500 acres (or 1.2 billion sq ft.) on the Hawaiian island of Maui. That’s a lot of land. And here’s the best part: all of that land is recorded at cost between – you’ll never believe it – 1911 and 1930! Just to remind you: Hawaii wasn’t even close to being a state around that time.
So what does that mean? How much is the land worth today? Well, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that land values in Hawaii have gone up at least a little bit in the past century. Unfortunately, the vast majority (around 22,500 acres) of the land is either mountainous, preserved, or used for agriculture, so it’s not [necessarily] easily salable or, for that matter, developable (if this use of “developable” is not a word, credit me for coining it).
Nonetheless, I’d quite precisely estimate the value of the land somewhere between a little and a whole lot (how’s that for perfection?), but still far more than its cost. Investors can also take solace in the fact that the company still owns an additional 9 miles of beachfront (read: prime) real estate, several PGA toured golf courses, a happening resort community, and who knows what else.
A very good post on the company and some valuation metrics can be found here if you scroll down, so I’ll save you from the technical discussion. The author, Clyde Milton, does as good a job as any in describing the company, and I highly recommend the reading (and the whole blog, for that matter).
Maui Land & Pineapple Co.: Look Past the Pineapple — Seeking Alpha