St. Joe Loss Increases on $374.8 Million of Charges

St. Joe Co. (JOE), the largest private land owner in northern Florida, reported a wider fourth-quarter loss as it had noncash charges of $374.8 million on developments planned before the state’s real estate collapse.

The net loss was $328.6 million, or $3.56 a share, compared with $2.7 million, or 3 cents, a year earlier, the Watersound, Florida-based company said in a statement today.

St. Joe projected charges of $325 million to $375 million for the quarter and capital-expenditure savings of $190 million over the next decade as part of a new strategy “to weather a tepid and uncertain real estate environment,” according to a Jan. 27 statement. Its real estate investments were revalued to $387.2 million as of Dec. 31 from $755.4 million a year earlier, the company said today.

“We believe that this new investment strategy continues to build upon the successful cost-reduction initiatives that we previously implemented and positions us to increase our short-and medium-term cash flow, reduce our long-term risk and maintain our strong cash position,” Chief Executive Officer Park Brady said in the statement.

St. Joe, originally a forestry-products company founded by members of the du Pont family who acquired most of its land in the 1920s and 1930s, now has 573,000 acres (232,000 hectares) concentrated in northwestern Florida. It diversified into residential, resort and industrial development in the 1990s.

Almost 23 percent of Florida homes with a mortgage were delinquent or in foreclosure as of Dec. 31, the most of any state and higher than the 12 percent U.S. average, according to Lender Processing Services Inc., a Jacksonville, Florida-based real estate data and services company.

St. Joe released fourth-quarter results after the close of regular U.S. trading. It fell 0.8 percent to $15.97 at the close. The shares have dropped 40 percent over the last year, compared with a 3 percent increase in the Russell 1000 Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: John Gittelsohn in Los Angeles at johngitt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Taub at dtaub@bloomberg.net

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