Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Friday, March 23, 2001

GST Telecommnications to sell Hawaii assets

The Hawaii assets of GST Telecommunications Inc., including its fiber optic cable linking all six of the major islands, are being sold to a subsidiary of Japanese trading giant Tomen Corp. for an undisclosed price. Tomen is GST Hawaii's main secured creditor.

The sale, which was approved by a Delaware bankruptcy court but needs Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approval, is expected to become effective Tuesday, said the buyer, TM Communications Hawaii LLC.

GST came to the islands in 1994, intending to become a competitor in the local telecommunications business, and spent $50 million to build the undersea cable network.

The parent company filed for bankruptcy in May and most of its assets were sold to Time Warner Telecom Inc. The bulk of Hawaii assets were not included in the sale.

The new owner is keeping the existing staff of 40.

Dole Food declares quarterly dividend

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. -- Dole Food Co. Inc. yesterday declared its regular quarterly dividend of 10 cents per share. The dividend is payable on June 14, 2001 to shareholders of record May 17, 2001.

Drought-hit businesses eligible for SBA loans

Small businesses in Hawaii hurt by recent drought can apply for low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the federal agency said.

The SBA said that loans of up to $1.5 million are available for small businesses to offset losses suffered by drought conditions incurred after Jan. 1, 2000.

The loans, known as economic injury disaster loans, carry a 4 percent interest rate.

The loan program was made available here after Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, at the request of Gov. Ben Cayetano, declared the isles' drought conditions a disaster.

Insurance convention to bring 10,000

An insurance trade group is expected to draw 10,000 visitors to the Hawaii Convention Center for its annual meeting in 2006.

The Risk and Insurance Management Society Inc., whose members include nearly 4,000 businesses and organizations in the risk management and captive insurance field in the United States and Canada, will attract about $28 million in visitor spending for the annual meeting, according to the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.

The convention business comes as the state has made a big push to promote the captive insurance business. Captive insurance is a form of self-insurance that large companies set up to protect their assets and business.

"Holding the RIMS convention in Hawaii will increase the visibility of the state's captive insurance market on an international level," said state Insurance Commissioner Wayne Metcalf, whose office worked with the HVCB to book the convention.

Schuler Homes to meet with investors

Top executives at locally based Schuler Homes Inc. will address a group of institutional investors, analysts and the business press in New York City Monday at the Wall Street Analyst Forum's Institutional Investor Conference.

The company now ranks among the top 15 builders nationwide as a result of a merger with Western Pacific Housing set to close April 1. The Schuler management team will present the "new Schuler Homes Inc." at the conference which can be accessed via Web cast at media_files/priv/21180/WSAF/ schedule/032601.htm.

Motorola eliminating 4,000 more jobs

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. >> Motorola Inc. said today it is cutting 4,000 more jobs, or about 3.1 percent of its work force, bringing to 22,000 the number of job cuts announced since December.

The latest cuts are in Motorola's networks sector, which was created in January to provide broadband and wireless communications products.

The reduction will leave Motorola with about 125,000 employees worldwide.

Motorola's stock was up 8 cents to $15.76 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Its 52-week high is $56.25.

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