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

Real estate sales boosted the profit of major local retail property investment firm Alexander & Baldwin Inc. in the first quarter.

The Honolulu-based company said in a financial report Thursday that it earned $9.9 million in the January-March period, a 77% gain over a $5.6 million profit in the same period last year.

A&B attributed the increase to selling six land parcels covering 134 acres for $12 million along with residential real estate at a joint-venture Kauai resort development project called Kukui‘ula that generated $17 million and included 12 units plus a large undeveloped parcel slated for 150 residential units.

These sales helped produce an operating profit of $11.4 million for A&B’s land division during the first quarter, up from $4.5 million a year earlier.

In A&B’s core business focused on operating grocery-anchored shopping centers, operating profit slipped to $15.4 million in the first quarter from $18.1 million the year before.

At the end of the first quarter, A&B retail occupancy had slipped to 93.8% from 94.9% a year earlier as the company worked to help tenants get through financial difficulties amid the coronavirus pandemic and avoid more serious occupancy declines.

A&B is Hawaii’s second-biggest retail property landlord, and has about 650 tenants statewide at more than a dozen shopping centers that include Pearl Highlands Center, Kaneohe Bay Shopping Center, Kahului Shopping Center, Kunia Shopping Center, Waipio Shopping Center, Waianae Mall, Aikahi Park Shopping Center, Manoa Marketplace, Shops at Kukui‘ula and Queens’ Marketplace.

A&B also has a road paving and materials subsidiary, Grace Pacific, that generated a first-quarter operating loss of $4 million, compared with a $3.3 million operating loss a year earlier.

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

“We are off to a very good start in 2021 as Hawaii’s economy is recovering steadily,” Chris Benjamin, A&B president and CEO, said in a statement. “While certain impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic continue, we are encouraged by the recovery of our (commercial real estate) business and the strong progress made in selling non-core assets.”

A&B’s board of directors recently declared that it would raise the company’s second-quarter stock dividend by 1 cent, to 16 cents per share, payable July 6 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on June 28.

Shares of A&B stock on the New York Stock Exchange closed at $18.33 on Friday, up from $17.92 the day before. Over the last 52 weeks, A&B shares have closed between a low of $9.96 on May 13 and a high of $19.17 on March 12.

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