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JACKSONVILLE, FL-Higher interest rates apparently didn’t dent St. Joe Co.’s second-quarter performance as Florida’s largest private real estate company reports net income of $22.7 million, or 30 cents per share, versus $9.9 million, or 13 cents per share, in the comparable 2003 period.

“Based on the strong demand for our resort, residential, rural land and commercial real estate products, we are raising our expectations for the full year 2004,” says Kevin M. Twomey, St. Joe’s president, chief operating office and chief financial officer. “We now expect the results for the full year 2004, before conservation land gains, to exceed 2003′s baseline earnings per share of 80 cents by 25% or more.”

Results from the St. Joe Towns & Resorts segment, formerly the Community Development division, are “expected to continue to grow in the final six months of 2004,” says Twomey. “Artisan Park and SummerCamp should be important contributors for the second half of the year. We continue to see excellent results at WaterColor.”

Additionally, WaterSound Beach is also “expected to perform well during the balance of 2004,” the St. Joe president says in a prepared statement. For the remainder of this year and into 2005, St. Joe’s commercial real estate division will focus on the development and sale of retail, multifamily and commercial properties in Northwest Florida, Twomey says. The company is the largest private landowner in the state, controlling 825,000 acres, mostly in the Panhandle near the Alabama state line.

“We have turned a corner with commercial development in Northwest Florida, particularly in Bay County,” Twomey says. “There has been a marked change in the attitude of national retailers and commercial developers toward Northwest Florida and Panama City Beach, in particular.” He adds, “We expect the pending land sale at Pier Park to the Simon Property Group to be a significant catalyst for additional success.”

Peter S. Rummell, a former Walt Disney World executive and St. Joe’s chairman and CEO, echoes Twomey’s predictions. “We’re well on our way to a very good 2004,” Rummell says. “The recent increase in interest rates from historic lows has had no apparent impact on sales to date.”

He adds, “We are pleased with our performance, our position and our financial flexibility. We’re looking forward to the rest of the year with growing confidence and are pleased to raise our full-year guidance for 2004.”

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