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Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Sunday, July 15, 2001



Schuler Homes orders on the rise in 1st quarter

Schuler Homes Inc. announced Friday that it had 1,409 new home orders for the first quarter, ended June 30. That compares to 1,207 new home orders for the same period in 2000, a 16.7 increase.

Schuler attributes the increase to new orders in California, went up 42.9 percent. In addition, the company's backlog of homes yet to be delivered was 1,970 as of June 30. That compares to a backlog of 1,670 homes for the same period last year.

Schuler will announce its third quarter earnings July 26.

Hawaiian Airlines traffic declines in June

Hawaiian Airlines reported a mild dip in passenger traffic during June.

Hawaiian said it carried a total of 528,773 passengers last month, a 2.3 percent decline from June 2000's 564,151.

The locally based airline also recorded a total of 497.6 million revenue passenger miles last month, a 5.7 percent decrease from 527.8 million a year earlier.

Available seat miles, meanwhile, slipped 2.8 percent to 606.1 million from 623.9 million in June 2000 while the carrier's systemwide load factor dipped to 82.1 percent last month from the previous June's 84.6 percent.

Webvan Group files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

FOSTER CITY, Calif. >> Failed online grocer Webvan Group Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, setting the stage for the sale of its remaining assets.

Foster City-based Webvan announced late Friday that it filed its bankruptcy petition in Wilmington, Del., where the company is officially incorporated. The plans were originally announced Monday.

"The company plans an orderly sale of its business and assets," Webvan said in a brief statement.

In other news ...

Warren Buffett, the billionaire chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said a 50 percent decline in Internet stocks in the past year hasn't made them more attractive as investments.

Buffett, returning to New York investment firm Allen & Co.'s annual, invitation-only meeting in Sun Valley, Idaho, said he still sees the shares of some Internet companies selling for unreasonably high prices, according to attendees.

[TAKING NOTICE]

New jobs

>> The Common Heritage Corp. has named the following individuals to positions within the company: Anne M.O. Bailey, chief operating officer; Jack R. Davidson, chairman of the board of directors; and Richard J. Bailey Jr., Kona Deep Ocean Water Demonstration Site manager.

>> Keith McClintock has been named vice president of the residential loan department at Finance Factors Ltd. McClintock had previously served as a senior loan officer at Mortgage Plus.

>> Joe Higgins has been named vice president of incentive sales at 21st Century Group, based out of the company's Maui offices. He will develop group leads for hotels under contract with 21st Century throughout the islands. A 20-year veteran of the travel industry, Higgins returns to Hawaii after working for Sun International Resorts.

>> David M. Yamamoto has been named director of food and beverage and executive chef at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel. He has more than 24 years of experience in the food service industry.

PROMOTIONS

>> J.W. "Joe" Hanley Jr. has been named general manager at Orchid Isle Auto Center. He will also hold the titles of vice president and chief operating officer of the company. An employee since 1974, Hanley has served Orchid Isle in all departments of the company. He had previously served as general sales manager.

On the board

>> Linda Chu Takayama was reinstated as chairwoman of the Hawaii Foodbank board of directors for fiscal year 2001. The following were also named to continue on the nonprofit's board: Noel Trainor, first vice chair; Jim LaClair, second vice-chair; Mark Felmet, secretary; and Ralph Nakatsuka, treasurer.

Recognition

>> James Babian, executive sous chef at The Orchid at Mauna Lani, has been awarded Best of Show and Gold Medal honors at the Las Vegas Culinary Challenge. Babian won a medal in the poultry category, as well as a cash award. The event, sponsored by the Fraternity of Executive Chefs of Las Vegas, included 45 chefs from around the country vying for three American Culinary Federation Gold Medals.

[WINNERS & LOSERS]

[WINNERS]

>> Outrigger Enterprises Inc., which gained the adoration of every politician within hailing distance for its ambitious plan to spend $300 million renovating nearly eight acres it owns in the heart of Waikiki from crowded back streets to open-air retail. The plan will knock down six aging hotels and replace them with one massive hotel. Overlooked thus far is that Outrigger is fixing a congested situation it created in the first place.

Small businesses and farmers, who can use a new product from the University of Hawaii to quickly estimate whether a new product, service or crop will be profitable. The $3 poster includes most cost variables in operating a business. Simply plug in your individual numbers, do the math and Presto!, you know whether to build that widget. If only this had been available in Silicon Valley ....

Local architecture and design firm Cleve & Levin, which is taking its island success to Texas. The designers are opening a branch office in Austin, expanding the business and allowing Vice President Jack Levin to be closer to his parents. Of all the appropriate places to get bigger, Texas must be at the top.

[LOSERS]

Hawaii Dental Health Plan, which this past week was prevented from selling new policies by state Circuit Court Judge Sabrina McKenna. The state Insurance Division sought the order after receiving nearly 40 complaints that the company was not paying for services. No local officers of the company could be found; the two addresses for the company are a mail drop on Kapahulu Avenue, and a location in California.

HomeLife Furniture Corp., which last week abruptly shut its 130 stores across the country, including two in Hawaii. While the company described the move as "temporary," it has been struggling with its finances and is still in need of investment. Whether the company gets back on its feet, it certainly has not engendered goodwill among customers with its sudden departure.

>> Adtech Inc., the local poster child for high-tech business. The company, owned offshore for the nearly a half-decade, ran headlong into the reality of being a corporate ward this past week. President Tareq Hoque quit suddenly, intimating that grim news -- perhaps layoffs -- was coming down the pike, and that his vision was different than that of Spirent Plc, Adtech's British parent.





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