–By Teresa Burney, Lisa Jackson, and Sarah Yaussi
Despite abysmal sales thanks to a weak Florida market and high cancellation rates, AVTR made money last year–a rarity among public home builders. The company's low cost basis for its long-owned land as well as its diversification into both commercial and industrial real estate have helped maintain profitability. It also has managed to maintain low levels of debt and almost as much cash on hand as it had at the end of 2006, both factors that should help it weather the downturn. To help bolster the company's cash, management is in the process of targeting commercial and industrial land in its portfolio for sale. A potential drain on the company's future cash is a 9.66-mile four-lane road it has agreed to build in Florida's Osceola and Polk Counties.