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.