Alexander & Baldwin Inc. boosts profit 77% with real estate sales

Real estate sales added first-quarter earnings to major local retail real estate investment firm Alexander & Baldwin Inc.

The Honolulu-based company announced in a financial report Thursday that it made $ 9.9 million in the January through March period, up 77% from a profit of $ 5.6 million in the same period of the previous year.

A&B attributed the increase to the sale of six 134 acres of land for $ 12 million and residential real estate in a joint venture to develop a Kauai resort called Kukui’ula, which is worth $ 17 million. Dollars generated and comprised 12 units plus a large vacant lot for 150 residential units.

These sales helped generate $ 11.4 million in operating income for the land division of A&B for the first quarter, up from $ 4.5 million a year earlier.

In A & B’s core business, which focused on operating food-anchored shopping centers, first-quarter operating profit decreased from $ 18.1 million a year ago to $ 15.4 million.

By the end of the first quarter, A&B retail occupancy had fallen from 94.9% a year earlier to 93.8% as the company worked to help tenants overcome financial difficulties amid the coronavirus pandemic and to avoid more serious decreases in occupancy.

A&B is Hawaii’s second largest retail property rental company and has around 650 tenants in more than a dozen malls nationwide, including Pearl Highlands Center, Kaneohe Bay Mall, Kahului Mall, Kunia Mall, Waipio Mall, Waianae Mall, and Aikahi Park Mall, Manoa Marketplace, shops in Kukui’ula and Queens’ Marketplace.

A&B also has a pavement and materials subsidiary, Grace Pacific, which posted an operating loss of $ 4 million in the first quarter compared to an operating loss of $ 3.3 million last year.

Overall, A&B said all results were better than expected.

“We have a very good start into 2021 as Hawaii’s economy continues to recover,” said Chris Benjamin, President and CEO of A&B, in a statement. “While certain effects of the COVID-19 pandemic persist, we are encouraged by the recovery in our (commercial real estate) business and the strong progress made in selling non-core assets.”

A & B’s board of directors recently announced that it will increase the company’s stock dividend by 1 cent to 16 cents per share in the second quarter, payable to shareholders of record on July 6th at close of business on June 28th.

A&B stock on the New York Stock Exchange closed at $ 18.33 on Friday, down from $ 17.92 the previous day. For the past 52 weeks, A&B stocks closed between a low of $ 9.96 on May 13th and a high of $ 19.17 on March 12th.