Business

Wednesday, Mar 19 2014 05:25 PM

Tejon Ranch reports quarterly loss but ample water

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    A Tejon Ranch sign stands near the site of the Tejon Ranch Outlets retail project that has started construction on the east side of Interstate 5.

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BY JOHN COX jcox@bakersfield.com Californian staff writer

Tejon Ranch Co. finished 2013 on a low note as improved hunting and power plant lease revenues failed to offset declines in farm revenues and oil royalties, the Lebec-based real estate development and agribusiness reported this week.

The company reported earning $4.165 million in 2013 -- a 6.2 percent decline from the year before -- but lost $826,000 in the three months ended Dec. 31.

In a reassuring note to investors, the company said it has plenty of water to take care of its real estate and farming needs.

"Undoubtedly water is a very important and valuable commodity in California," President and CEO Gregory S. Bielli wrote in Monday's earnings news release.

"Many operations around the state may have difficulty in securing all the water they need in 2014, but due to our previous investments in water and water infrastructure, we will have the necessary water resources to continue forward with our real estate and farming activities during this year and beyond."

However, Tejon Ranch warned, as it has in recent years, that the "variability of its quarterly and annual operating results will continue" this year because of fluctuating farming prices and uncertainties inherent to its real estate development projects.

Its fourth-quarter revenues, including money from investments and other income, totaled $13.2 million, compared with $13.9 million during the same period a year before, when it posted a $27,000 profit.

Tejon said its oil-related revenue between Sept. 30 and the end of the year slipped to $2.1 million, or $534,000 below the year-ago period. It attributed that decline to leaseholders closing oil wells for maintenance, investment in on-site production facilities and regulatory permitting delays.

Farming revenues came to nearly $2.5 million in the fourth quarter, or about $422,000 less than the year before. The company said the decline was due to higher farming sales costs and lower pistachio and wine grape production.

The company said it continues to work on a series of commercial and residential real estate projects on its 270,000 acres in southern Kern County and a master-planned community proposed in Los Angeles County.

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