The Jacksonville-based transportation and real estate company is hoping for even better results in fiscal 2013.
“We had a good year and positioned ourselves well for a successful 2013 and beyond,” CEO Tom Baker told shareholders Wednesday at Patriot’s annual meeting.
Patriot’s largest business segment is transportation, which accounted for $103.5 million of the company’s total fiscal 2012 revenue of $127.5 million.
The transportation business is conducted through a trucking subsidiary called Florida Rock & Tank Lines, which hauls petroleum products and other liquid and dry bulk commodities throughout the Southeast.
The trucking business has been dealing with continuing expense increases for fuel, tires and parts over the past two years, Baker said.
“I feel our team is doing a stellar job managing these costs,” he said.
The company’s commercial real estate division, which develops and operates properties mainly in the Baltimore-Washington and Northern Virginia markets, leased 973,857 square feet of space to tenants last year. That increased the occupancy of Patriot’s properties from 79.8 percent to 88.7 percent.
“Things are looking up. Things are happening for us in our real estate business,” Baker said.
Baker is particularly encouraged by the development potential for a 5.8-acre site the company owns in Washington, D.C., along the Anacostia River, across the street from the Washington Nationals Baseball Park.
Patriot recently received its permits for a four-building mixed-use project at that site and hopes to begin construction there by the fall of 2014. The success of other projects in that area since the ballpark opened in 2008 has Baker optimistic.
“This part of the world is happening as we speak,” he said. “This is a reality and it’s something that we’re moving forward quickly.”
Besides its trucking and real estate division, Patriot also has a mining royalty segment that leases land to construction materials companies. Patriot was originally spun off from construction materials company Florida Rock Industries Inc. a quarter of a century ago.
The mining segment is Patriot’s smallest in terms of revenue, with just $4.5 million last year. But it was highly profitable with $3.2 million in operating profits in fiscal 2012.
As it held its shareholders meeting at the 245 Riverside building on Jacksonville’s Northbank, Patriot also announced that earnings for the first quarter ended Dec. 31 rose 47 percent to $3.1 million, or 33 cents a share.
The earnings were helped by a $1.1 million pretax gain on the sale of a 50-acre property along Commonwealth Avenue on Jacksonville’s Westside.
Total revenue in the quarter rose 9 percent to $33.1 million.
Patriot Executive Chairman John Baker (Tom’s uncle) said the company is in a good position after dealing with the effects of the recession for three or four years.
“The first quarter seems like we’re turning the corner,” he said. “I think we’ve got some great times ahead of us.”
In a difficult operating environment, Patriot Transportation Holding Inc. still managed to grow its earnings from continuing operations by 10 percent in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.