By Glenn Scott
Advertiser Staff Writer
Alexander & Baldwin Inc. said yesterday that revenue last year surpassed $1 billion, but fourth-quarter net income and revenue fell slightly as fuel prices remained high and sugar prices dropped.
The Honolulu company said its net income last year climbed to $90.6 million, or $2.21 a share. Those figures compare unevenly with reported net income of $62.6 million, or $1.45 a share, in 1999. The net income figure for 2000 included a $12.25 million increase from an accounting change, while the 1999 amount reflected a $15.4 million write-down for reduced assets in coffee farming.
If both of those one-time items are excluded, the company said, share earnings last year rose 15 percent on revenue of $1.07 billion. Revenue in 1999 reached $999.98 million.
Fourth-quarter net income in 2000 was $14.5 million, or 36 cents a share, compared with $5 million, or 12 cents a share, in the fourth-quarter of 1999, when the write-down removed $9.6 million in net income.
With the 1999 write-down excluded, fourth-quarter net income last year dropped by 2.8 percent. Revenue of $261.7 million for the quarter also was down slightly compared with $263.6 million in 1999, reflecting a $7.2 million loss in company sugar operations.
"The economy of Hawaii did strengthen during the year," said W. Allen Doane, A&Bs president and chief executive officer. "But higher bunker fuel prices were an unexpected problem, jumping 60 percent, and raw sugar prices reached unprecedented lows in the early part of the year."
The companys property management and development section, A&B Properties, finished 2000 with operating profits of $54.3 million, a 21 percent gain over $44.9 million in 1999.
Property leasing remained strong, with $30.1 million in operating profit last year, up 10 percent from 1999. The companys Mainland holdings reached a 96 percent occupancy rate, a 2 percent improvement from the previous year. Holdings in Hawaii moved to 86 percent occupancy from 81 percent in 1999.
In the fourth quarter, operating profit reached $7.9 million, a 14 percent rise over the 1999 profit of $6.9 million.
In ocean transportation, the company said its 2000 operating profit of $93.7 million was 12 percent higher than the 1999 profit of $83.3 million. Matson Navigation Co.s container volume went up slightly for the year, but the shipments of automobiles jumped by 31 percent.
Fourth-quarter profits for ocean transportation hit $19.8 million, 8 percent more than the $18.3 million for the same quarter in 1999.
Profit dropped in A&Bs division for food products, primarily sugar and coffee. The company reported that its $7.5 million operating profit was down from $11.3 million the previous year. The decline came from historically low sugar prices and lower raw sugar production resulting from drought conditions on Maui, officials said.
Fourth-quarter profit of $4.6 million for food products was up over $3 million a year earlier. After the asset write-down in 1999, operations at the Kauai Coffee Co. Inc. made a modest profit last year, said A&B Vice President John B. Kelley, but it was a minor contribution to the overall A&B profitability.
The price of A&B stock shares closed yesterday at $27.56, up 8 cents.
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