A&B posts profit in second quarter

Alexander & Baldwin’s net income for the second quarter of this year from April through June was $4.3 million in profit, or 9 cents per diluted share, versus a loss of $700,000, or 1 cent per diluted share, in last year’s second quarter, which came as Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. was beginning to lay off employees in its shutdown of sugar operations at the end of 2016.

A&B took in $800,000 in after-tax income from an HC&S equipment auction in this year’s second quarter, while in last year’s April-to-June period the plantation’s closure costs amounted to $3.7 million in after-tax losses, according to the company’s report released Wednesday.

The company reported it took in $98.1 million in revenue in the second quarter of this year, compared with $82 million for the same period last year.

In other Maui-related A&B developments, the company reports the sale of 3 acres in Wailea for $3.6 million. According to A&B spokesman Darren Pai, the property is located in the central part of the Wailea resort at the corner of Wailea Ike Drive and Wailea Ike Place. The property was purchased by Olsen Real Estate Group, he said.

When asked about the status of sales in A&B’s 600-unit Kamalani housing project, with the first phase of construction of five buildings and 35 units beginning in March in north Kihei, Pai said there are 47 contracts in escrow and 50 units under construction.

“The first homes are expected to be available for move-in at the end of September,” he said. “Model units and the sales office are expected to be open at the end of September or the beginning of October.”

Also, when asked about the company’s efforts to convert its 36,000 acres of former sugar lands to diversified agriculture, specifically its pongamia project and corn and sorghum trials, Pai said the corn trials have been proceeding well.

“We have been encouraged by the yields we are seeing but need to continue with our trials,” he said. “We’ve been preparing for the pongamia trials, and we expect to start planting within the next couple of months.”

In April, A&B reported that it was working on a partnership with a seed-oil-producing company, Oakland, Calif.-based TerViva, to do a 250-acre demonstration project to produce biofuels from the pongamia tree.

Seed oil from the pongamia tree, originating in India and Australia, may be used to produce biofuels. The residual pongamia seed cake can be used in fertilizer, animal feed supplements or feedstock for biogas production.

A&B is the largest private landowner on Maui, holding 67,711 acres as of July 2013, according to the “2015 State of Hawaii Databook.” A&B also owned 21,000 acres on Kauai as of January 2012, 22.4 acres on Oahu in July 2013 and 13.6 acres on the Big Island as of June 2013.

Statewide, A&B is the fourth largest private property owner with 88,763 acres and the sixth largest overall when state and federal landholdings are counted, the databook reported.

* Brian Perry can be reached at bperry@mauinews.com.