Maui Land & Pine narrows losses
By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer
Maui Land & Pineapple Co. made progress toward turning around its finances in the first three months of the year with a $2.7 million net loss that was down from a $13.2 million loss in the same period last year.
A land sale and elimination of some retiree benefits helped produce the slimmed down loss, the company said.
Revenue was $10.7 million in both comparable quarters.
Maui Land's property development division produced an operating profit of $806,000 that compared with a $3.2 million operating loss a year earlier. The gain was influenced by the sale of 127 acres in Upcountry Maui formerly used to grow pineapple. Increased revenue from lease and licensing agreements also was a factor.
Last year, Maui Land ended its nearly 100-year history of pineapple farming and leased much of its agricultural land to an independent pineapple grower. Maui Land also leased a 158-acre organic farm to another farm operator. Maui Land farm operations in the 2009 first quarter had an operating loss of $2.5 million.
Other savings came from the elimination of a post-retirement life insurance plan that produced a $3.4 million gain for Maui Land in the first quarter, and the termination of medical benefits for non-bargaining retirees, the company said.
Resort operations resulted in an operating loss of $2.5 million in the first quarter, which was down from a $4.2 million operating loss in the year-ago quarter. Maui land said improved golf operations and cost reductions factored into its resort business results.
Maui Land's stock closed yesterday at $5.28 before the earnings announcement. The price was up 22 cents from $5.06 on Friday. Over the past 52 weeks, Maui Land shares have closed between a high of $10 on May 11 and a low of $2.35 on Jan. 26.
Maui Land's earnings equated to a net loss of 33 cents per common share of stock in the first quarter, compared with a $1.65 per-share net loss in the year-ago quarter.
Last month, the company said it would seek shareholder approval to almost double the amount of its authorized common stock as it contemplates financing alternatives to pay down debt and raise money.