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The St. Joe Company , a publicly held real estate company, reported a net loss of $2.4 million or 3 cents per share in third quarter 2011 compared with a net loss of $13.1 million or 14 cents in the year-earlier quarter.

For the third quarter of 2011, total revenue stood at $26.7 million compared with $27.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Total revenue for the reported quarter were well ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $21 million.

By segment, St. Joe generated $16.6 million from its Residential segment during the quarter versus $12.3 million in the year-ago quarter. The Commercial segment generated $1.4 million in the reported quarter vis-à-vis $3.7 million in the year-earlier quarter, while Forestry segment recorded $8.2 million versus $6.8 million in the comparable period. Revenue from Rural Land Sales during the quarter was $0.5 million compared to $4.3 million in the prior-year quarter.

During third quarter 2011, St. Joe reduced its operating and corporate expenses to $27.5 million from $40.0 million in the previous year. The company further expects to continue reducing its operating expenses throughout the remainder of the year to achieve sustainable cash flows from its core operations.

St. Joe continued with its capital investment in its Breakfast Point, RiverTown and Venture Crossings projects, as part of its corporate strategy to capitalize on renewed investor interests in these projects. The company further plans to redeploy the capital to advance infrastructure construction supporting revenue-generating industrial, warehouse and office developments within these projects, which will likely have a positive economic impact on the respective regions in the long run.

St. Joe incurred total cash overheads of $9.3 million for the reported quarter compared with $18.7 million in the prior-year period. At quarter-end, the company had $188.2 million of cash and $23.8 million of pledged securities. By the end of third quarter 2011, total debt outstanding was $52.4 million, out of which $23.8 million was defeased debt.

We maintain our long-term ‘Neutral’ recommendation on St. Joe, which currently has a Zacks #3 Rank that translates into a short-term ‘Hold’ rating. One of its competitors, Rayonier Inc. presently also has a ‘Neutral’ recommendation and a Zacks #3 Rank.

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