St. Joe Earnings Slip in First Quarter

St. Joe Earnings Slip in First Quarter


JACKSONVILLE — The St. Joe Company on Tuesday announced a net loss of $11.7 million (or 13 cents a share) for the first quarter of 2009. This compares to net income of $32.1 million, or 40 cents per share, for the same time period in 2008.

Earlier this year the company  (NYSE:JOE) announced a net loss of $35.9 million, or 40 cents per share, for 2008 – compared to net income of $39.2 million, or 53 cents per share, for 2007.

“Although Northwest Florida’s real estate markets remain challenging, our residential communities have seen a relatively modest improvement in traffic and sales activity since the end of last year,” said Britt Greene, JOE’s President and CEO. “However, it is too early to predict a bottom or a trend. The actions we have taken, such as adjusting pricing for our inventory of homes, has helped us to respond to a market that seems interested but remains timid. We are also seeing measured activity in our commercial markets throughout the region.”

The company expects rural land sales to be its largest contributor to revenues in 2009 even though it plans to sell significantly fewer acres in 2009 than in 2008. During the first quarter 2009, St. Joe generated approximately $4.2 million of revenue from rural land sales, compared to $91.1 million in the first quarter last year. The average price per acre increased during the quarter.

St. Joe has accelerated preconstruction development activity on 1,000 acres in West Bay adjacent to the new international airport scheduled to open in May 2010. The land is being planned for office, retail and industrial users.

On March 31, 2009, St. Joe owned approximately 585,000 acres, concentrated primarily in Northwest Florida. Approximately 405,000 acres, or 70 percent of the company’s total land holdings, are within 15 miles of the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.