Thursday, February 4, 1999

Home builders
post higher profits

Castle & Cooke's earnings
jump 264% while Schuler
Homes' net soars 95%

By Russ Lynch


Two companies developing homes in Hawaii and on the mainland had sharply higher fourth-quarter profits in 1998.

Info Box Castle & Cooke Inc. today reported a fourth-quarter net income of $2.8 million, or 16 cents a share, up 264 percent from a profit of $766,000, or 4 cents a share after preferred-stock dividends, in the 1997 quarter.

Schuler Homes Inc. had a fourth-quarter profit of $4.3 million, or 21 cents a share, up 95 percent from $2.2 million, or 11 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter.

Both companies gained from the economic strength on the mainland, while their Hawaii business remained soft.

Los Angeles-based Castle & Cooke, which has housing developments on Oahu as well as resort operations and luxury apartment sales on Lanai, said its results were boosted by better performance in its mainland operations, particularly a recently acquired development in Florida.

Info Box In the latest quarter, Castle & Cooke had revenues of $84.3 million, up 10.3 percent from $76.4 million in the fourth quarter of 1997.

The company said a new marketing alliance with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is already bringing new business to its Lanai hotels, the Lodge at Koele and the Manele Bay Hotel. Its Oahu housing developments, however, are still being held back by the sluggish Hawaii economy, said David H. Murdock, Castle & Cooke chairman and CEO.

At Honolulu-based Schuler Homes, income was boosted by the company's 49 percent ownership of Stafford Homes, a developer in the Puget Sound area of Washington.

Schuler's overall fourth-quarter revenues of $80.8 million were up 22 percent from $66.2 million in the final quarter of 1997. The company said it entered 1999 with a record backlog of homes ordered but not yet completed. James K. Schuler, chairman and CEO, said the company plans to expand through an aggressive policy of acquiring other businesses, a strategy that has already paid off in higher revenues and profits.

For all of 1998, Castle & Cooke had a profit of $10.8 million, compared with a loss of $104,000 in 1997 after preferred stock dividends.

Schuler's full-year profit was $12.7 million, up 115 percent from $5.9 million in 1997.

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