Friday, July 23, 1999

Maui Land profits rise

Star-Bulletin staff


Maui Land & Pineapple Thanks to stronger results in pineapple and resort operations, Maui Land & Pineapple Co., increased its second-quarter profit despite a one-time expense of $692,000 after taxes to pay consultants who worked on strategic plans for the company.

Since ML&P is about to get a new major shareholder -- America Online Inc. Chairman Steve Case -- who is likely to bring a new strategy of his own, the company wrote off the consultants' fees as an expense.

After that expense, the company still more than tripled its second-quarter net profit to $381,000, or 5 cents a share, from the year-earlier quarter's profit of $123,000, or 1.7 cents a share. Second-quarter revenues were up 1 percent at $30.4 million, from $30.1 million in the 1998 quarter.

The company reported a second-quarter operating profit of $1.4 million from its pineapple business, up 160 percent from $539,000 in the 1998 second quarter. Its Kapalua Resort brought in an operating profit of $1.1 million in the latest quarter, up 31 percent from $840,000 a year ago.

ML&P said it lost money in its commercial and property segment, but only about the same as it did in the 1998 quarter, and had improved results at its Kaahumanu Center shopping complex.

ML&P owns nearly 29,000 acres of land on Maui.

On July 1, the company said Case, who was born and raised in Hawaii, has agreed to pay about $39 million for just over 41 percent of ML&P's shares, making him the largest shareholder. The transaction is expected to close next month.

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