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TheStreet Open House

Alexander & Baldwin's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Stocks in this article: ALEX

In real estate, our commercial portfolio produced a nice double-digit year-over-year improvement in operating profit despite a still soft national economy. We made the long term strategic decision in 2011 to refocus our commercial portfolio back to Hawaii over time. Accordingly, the pace of sales from our commercial portfolio was, and will increasingly be dictated by the ability to locate acquisition opportunities in Hawaii. As a result, we saw far fewer large sales from our commercial portfolio in 2011 than in prior years.

In addition, offshore demand for Hawaii Resort Residential product remained weak, resulting in fewer development and property sales than were expected when we started the year. Importantly however, we continued to make good progress in expanding and positioning our pipeline of development projects in Hawaii for eventual market recovery.

Finally, our Agribusiness division led by HCNS had a banner year, and we expect strong performance to continue in 2012.

Joel, Matt and Chris will provide you with more detail on 2011 and our outlook for the coming year. Major news last year of course was our announcement in December to separate Alexander & Baldwin into standalone, publicly traded, land and transportation companies. We firmly believe that shareholders will benefit from the greater focus, alignment and transparency separation will bring.

As you will here from Joel, we’re on track with our regulatory filings and are currently targeting a third quarter separation date.

Turning briefly to Hawaii’s economy, tourism continues to be a real bright spot for the state. Tourism expenditures in 2011 were $12.5 billion, nearly matching the record $12.6 billion expended in 2007. When you consider that 2007 was followed by the recessionary years of 2008 and 2009, the strength and rapidity of tourism’s rebound is a real testament to the industry's resiliency. Tourism was the primary reason Hawaii’s unemployment rate averaged 6.3% in 2011 compared to the national average of 9%. More rapid economic recovery however will depend on the return of construction, which is yet to recover in any meaningful way.

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