Thursday, July 29, 1999

Fletcher Pacific
put on selling block

The isle construction firm's
parent wants to focus operations
in the South Pacific

By Peter Wagner


The state's biggest construction contractor is up for sale.

Executives at Fletcher Pacific Construction yesterday confirmed that the 60-year-old kamaaina company is entertaining buyout offers from "multiple" national and international companies.

Fletcher Pacific President Denny Watts would not identify the interested parties but said negotiations have been ongoing for the past month.

"We think this is going to be an opportunity for us to expand our business," he said. "We don't look at this as a negative."

New Zealand-based parent Fletcher Challenge Ltd. said it is selling construction holdings in North America and Asia to focus operations in the South Pacific.

"The company is performing well operationally and is making a real contribution to Fletcher Construction's earnings," said Mark Binns, chief executive of Fletcher Construction.

"However in the current strong market in the U.S.A. there may be potential owners that can add even further value to the company through their mainland operations and association with customers."

Binns said if no suitable buyer is found Fletcher Construction will continue to hold its Hawaii division.

Watts said he expects no impact on the company's 800 to 1,000 employees in Hawaii.

"Everything that is here now will be here in the future," he said.

"There are no considerations for changing basic operations that now exist."

While Fletcher has suffered along with other contractors because of Hawaii's prolonged economic slump, the company remains profitable, Watts said.

Fletcher Pacific expects $280 million in revenues this year, including operations in Hawaii, Guam and Micronesia.

Some of Fletcher's recent projects include the Neiman Marcus department store and other expansion at Ala Moana Center, First Hawaiian Center downtown and Kealakehe High School in Kona.

Fletcher Pacific is a division of the Auckland-based Fletcher Construction Group, which last year reported more than $1 billion in revenues.

Founded in Hawaii in 1939, Fletcher Pacific was acquired by Fletcher Challenge in 1986. Fletcher Challenge engages in building, pulp, paper and forestry in New Zealand, Australia and Asia.

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