Thursday, April 22, 1999

Mainland sales fuel Castle & Cooke earnings

Profits double but the company's
chairman expresses concern over
Hawaii's lack of growth

By Russ Lynch


Castle & Cooke A slight increase in home sales in Hawaii, lower losses in the Lanai resorts and strong real estate business on the mainland combined to double the first-quarter profit of Castle & Cooke Inc., the company said today.

Castle & Cooke reported a net profit of $2.8 million for the latest quarter, equal to 16 cents a share, up from a profit of $1.4 million, or 7 cents a share, in the first quarter of last year. First-quarter revenues of $63.7 million were up 11.2 percent at $63.7 million vs. $57.3 million a year ago.

"Although the Oahu residential market shows signs of stabilizing and new orders have improved slightly, we continue to be concerned with this market due to the lack of economic growth in Hawaii," said David Murdock, chairman and chief executive officer.

Info Box The company's earnings got a boost from its Keene's Pointe development in Orlando, Fla., and from commercial real estate business on the mainland, he said.

Resort operations on Lanai, where the company owns and operates the Manele Bay Hotel and the Lodge at Koele, had an operating loss of $1.7 million in the latest quarter, down from loss of $2.1 million a year ago.

At the end of March, Castle & Cooke had sales contracts signed for six luxury townhomes at its Terraces at Manele Bay development on Lanai, worth a total of $8.2 million.

The company sold 76 homes on Oahu during the quarter, at an average price of $281,000, compared with Oahu sales of 78 units in the year-earlier quarter, at an average price of $255,000.

As of March 31, the company had a backlog of 112 Oahu homes ordered but not finished, compared with a backlog of 81 units a year earlier.

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