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Kawamoto home sales produce big profit for A&B

    This file photo shows statues on one of the 27 Kahala Avenue homes and lots purchased by Alexander & Baldwin from Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto.

Quick resales of residential property on Kahala Avenue helped Alexander & Baldwin Inc. more than double its fourth-quarter profit.

The company announced on Thursday that it earned $22.5 million in the last three months of 2013, up from $8.7 million in the same quarter the year before.

The recent profit included gains from selling eight Kahala Avenue properties that A&B sold for $52.9 million within three months of acquiring 27 homes and lots on the Honolulu street dotted by luxury residences from Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto.

A&B said its operating profit from real estate sales in the quarter was $38.1 million, which also included gains from sales of a 24-acre parcel on Maui for a shopping center anchored by Target and seven commercial properties on the mainland. In the 2012 fourth quarter, A&B’s real estate operating profit was $1.3 million.

One area of A&B’s business that sagged in the recent quarter was its agribusiness division led by Maui sugar plantation Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. This segment recorded a $3.6 million operating loss in the fourth quarter compared with a $1.2 million operating profit a year earlier. A&B said the loss was primarily due to lower sugar prices that required the company to reduce the value of its raw sugar inventory.

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