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Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Tuesday, February 8, 2000

Former isle hotelier files for bankruptcy

A Tokyo real estate firm owned by singer Masao Sen, who once owned the Westin Maui Hotel, has filed for bankruptcy liquidation, saying it owes the yen equivalent of nearly $1 billion.

Sen, whose real name is Kentaro Abe, bought the 761-room hotel at Kaanapali Beach in 1990 for $290 million and sold it in 1998 for $132 million to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. Now his Abe International Ventures Corp. has called it quits after real estate prices in Japan fell. The company was unable to sell its properties at the prices it wanted. Founded in 1972, Abe International at its peak owned properties in 50 locations in Japan as well as the Hawaii hotel.

U.S. Sugar trying to stave off job cuts

CLEWISTON, Fla. -- U.S. Sugar Corp., the country's largest producer of sugar cane, is cutting back on executive benefits in order to avoid a large layoff of employees. The privately owned company announced yesterday that it is selling its corporate jet, forcing 22 executives to turn in their cars, dropping country club memberships and cutting back its charitable contributions. The company is also axing free tours of its Clewiston mill and refinery, and workers choosing early retirement will not receive medical benefits until they are 65. U.S. Sugar is trying to cut $10 million in expenses to cope with a dramatic drop in the price of raw cane sugar. Since last summer, the price has fallen 23 percent to 17 cents a pound from 22 cents a pound.

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