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Alexander & Baldwin's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

In addition to the regulatory filings, we have increased the amount of financial and non-financial disclosures on our transportation and land businesses, to help investors assess the value and prospects for each of our businesses.

On April 11, in New York City, the A&B and Matson management teams made in depth presentations on their businesses, and we issued an expanded real estate supplement. The presentation materials are available on our website and I encourage you to review them, if you haven't already done so.

Part of the investment thesis for both companies is that Hawaii is at a positive inflection point in the economic cycle. And each company is well-positioned to benefit from an uplift in Hawaii's economy. Recent economic data continues to be positive.

Tourism performed extremely well in the first quarter with arrivals up 9% and expenditures up 14% over last year. Tourism from Japan experienced a strong rebound with March arrivals being the best March in the last five years, and visitors from Korea and China grew by 38% and 24% respectively. The tourism officials now expect that Hawaii will post the best year in the state's history for both visitor arrivals and expenditures.

State unemployment continues to be relatively low at 6.4% and bankruptcy filings declined 21% in the quarter. The Hawaii economy is projected to grow by 2.3% this year and in the mid-to-high 3% range for the next several years.

The Oahu residential real estate market is also performing, with steadily rising home prices and low inventory levels. Based on information released yesterday by the Honolulu Board of Realtors, through April, median home prices on Oahu, have now posted sixth consecutive month of year-over-year increases and the months of inventory declined by 23% from the beginning of the year to 3.7 months.

I'm pleased to report that at our 340-unit Waihonua highrise condominium project near the Ala Moana shopping center, we have to date secured 192 binding sales contract with 10% deposits which should enable us to move forward with construction sometime in the fall.

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