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Alexander & Baldwin One Year After the Split

The other business, Matson Navigation, provides freight transportation services between the Pacific coast and Hawaii, Guam and China. Although I was not as interested in this part of the original company, I have maintained my position that resulted from the separation, because it is an interesting business in its own right. Matson, which owns 17 vessels, and 33,500 containers, generated more than $1.5 billion in revenue during 2012. Currently trading at 22 times trailing earnings, consensus estimates for 2014 put the forward price earnings ratio at 16. Matson also pays a dividend, which it recently increased by a penny to 16 cents, which equates to a 2.4% yield.

While Matson certainly has not delivered the returns that Alexander & Baldwin has over the past year, from an earnings perspective it has surprised to the upside the past two quarters.

The original, pre-separated Alexander & Baldwin is the type of situation that excites value investors; finding two solid, but very different businesses together under one roof. The hope is that separating them will create savings and unlock value. One year removed from the Alexander & Baldwin transaction, I'd say so far, so good.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Stock quotes in this article: ALEX, MATX 
At the time of publication, Heller was long ALEX, MATX.

Jonathan Heller, CFA, is president of KEJ Financial Advisors, his fee-only financial planning company. Jon spent 17 years at Bloomberg Financial Markets in various roles, from 1989 until 2005. He ran Bloomberg's Equity Fundamental Research Department from 1994 until 1998, when he assumed responsibility for Bloomberg's Equity Data Research Department. In 2001, he joined Bloomberg's Publishing group as senior markets editor and writer for Bloomberg Personal Finance Magazine, and an associate editor and contributor for Bloomberg Markets Magazine. In 2005, he joined SEI Investments as director of investment communications within SEI's Investment Management Unit.

Jon is also the founder of the Cheap Stocks Web site, a site dedicated to deep-value investing. He has an undergraduate degree from Grove City College and an MBA from Rider University, where he has also served on the adjunct faculty; he is also a CFA charter holder.

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