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Wednesday, December 13, 2000

Macadamia Orchards
reduces dividend

Star-Bulletin staff

ML Macadamia Orchards LP has reduced its quarterly cash payment to shareholders partly because of crop damage caused by torrential rains in early November.

The world's largest grower of macadamia nuts said it will pay 9 cents per class A unit to those holding units as of Dec. 29. The distribution, to be paid Feb. 15, 2001, is down from 12.5 cents earlier this year.

The Big Island grower said the reduced rate reflects some of the effects from the Nov. 2 storm in which more than 30 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period. The flooding caused an estimated loss of more than 2 million pounds of macadamia nuts and an estimated $200,000 in damage to roads, orchards and irrigation lines, the grower said.

Also, the partnership said cash flow will be reduced because of a dispute involving Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corp., the sole purchaser of the grower's nuts. The new owner of Mauna Loa Macadamia has taken the position that it should not have to pay for all the nuts delivered under three long-standing purchase agreements, according to a partnership statement. Officials with Mauna Loa, which was acquired recently by the Shansby Group, could not be reached for comment late yesterday afternoon.

ML Macadamia Orchids said it is legally entitled to be paid under the agreements. But cash flow will be reduced until the matter is settled, the grower said.

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