Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Wednesday, March 26, 2003



Timeshare cancels Local 5 contract

Management of the 375-unit Imperial Hawaii Resort timeshare in Waikiki canceled a union contract covering 60 workers over the weekend when negotiations stalled over drug testing.

"Negotiations are useless," said Peter Elliott, managing director of the Imperial Hawaii Resort, where a contract with unionized workers expired three years ago.

The Imperial Hawaii is proposing mandatory drug testing of employees, which the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Local 5 opposes. The union says the testing is not a policy at any other Hawaii hotel it represents.

With the contract canceled, the union still represents Imperial Hawaii workers, but both sides can raise the pressure. The union has fewer restrictions on picketing, and management can impose a lockout. Elliott said a lockout would only occur if the union posed a danger to the property.

Local 5 held a rally yesterday evening at the Imperial Hawaii, which is on the corner of Lewers Street and Kalia Road, mauka of the Halekulani and Outrigger Reef hotels. The union said it wants a contract. No further talks are scheduled.

Local 5 and the Imperial Hawaii also disagree about whether the new contract should be retroactive to March 2000, when the old contract expired, which would give more back pay to workers.

Fergus buys A&B Maui property

Alexander & Baldwin Inc. has sold a seven-acre property on Maui to a Honolulu real estate dealer, Fergus & Co., for $9.2 million. The property, which has 21 tenants, is zoned industrial, which allows for retail, light industrial and other uses, A&B said.

The property is across Dairy Road from the Maui Marketplace, a 20-acre shopping center in A&B's Maui Industrial Park. "It is good to transfer ownership of this property to another Hawaii-based entity, said Allen Doane, president and chief executive officer of A&B.

A&B will follow its normal practice and reinvest the proceeds of the sale. Fergus & Co., with offices in Kahala, is headed by Mike Fergus. He was not available for comment yesterday.

Retail real estate market to tighten

Hawaii's empty retail real estate is fast filling up, according to a new report from the commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis.

The firm said isle retail space had a 7.3 percent vacancy rate at the start of this year but that is expected to drop to about 5 percent by the end of the year. One illustration of the demand for retail space was what happened after J.C. Penney Co. closed its four remaining Hawaii stores in early January, the CB Richard Ellis report said. Macy's snapped up the former Penney's locations in Hilo and Kahului; the Pearlridge Center lease was acquired by Inspiration Home & Office Furnishings for its own store and to sublease; and Ala Moana Center plans to divide the Penney's space into some 30 shop spaces.

Dole shareholders OK Murdock buyout

Dole Food Co.'s shareholders have approved a $2.5 billion buyout to take the company private by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Murdock.

The going-private merger received favorable votes from 77 percent, or 43.3 million, of the outstanding shares. About 70 percent of those shares held by stockholders other than Murdock and his associates voted in favor of the deal.

The company said it expects the transaction to close Friday after the completion of financing.

Murdock, who is acquiring the 76 percent of Dole's common stock that he and his affiliates don't already own, is paying $33.50 a share in cash. An earlier offer to buy the shares at $29.50 apiece was rejected.

Murdock also owns Castle & Cooke Inc., which includes most of the island of Lanai, and thousands of acres of land on Oahu.

Dole, founded in Hawaii in 1851 but now with its corporate headquarters in Westlake Village, Calif., has divested most of its Hawaii production. It grows pineapple on 4,000 acres in Wahiawa.

Dole's stock closed up 5 cents today at $33.44.

Lehman Brothers bids for Daiei's stadium

FUKUOKA, Japan >> Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and two U.S. rivals are bidding for Daiei Inc.'s Fukuoka Dome baseball stadium and hotel, the Nihon Keizai newspaper reported.

Daiei, Japan's most indebted retailer, owns the Daiei Hawks baseball franchise and wants to sell the team's stadium and hotel in Fukuoka, southern Japan in order to help repay debt of $14 billion, the newspaper said, according to Bloomberg News.

Jury acquits Tyson in immigrant case

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. >> A federal jury acquitted Tyson Foods and three managers today of hiring illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America as part of a nationwide conspiracy to boost production and profits.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for less than a day before acquitting on all charges.

"The verdict confirms that Tyson Foods made a concerted effort to hire properly and abide by the law," company spokesman Gary Michelson said in a statement handed out immediately after the verdict was announced.

"While we're pleased with today's verdict, it's unfortunate that Tyson Foods and our team members were needlessly subjected to this ordeal," Michelson said.

Tyson executives testified during the 7-week trial that Tyson doesn't encourage the hiring of illegal workers.

[Hawaii Inc.]

New Jobs

>> Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties has hired Mary E. Aurio, Allyson N. Riter, Iris S. Seo and Cindy Teed as sales associates in its New Agent Training Office. Aurio was most recently a property manager with National Mortgage. Riter was a business development specialist for Chaney, Brooks & Co. Seo was a store manager for Holiday Jewelers of Hawaii and managed family owned rental properties. And Teed was a travel agent at the Kaneohe Marine Base.

>> Duke's Canoe Club Waikiki has hired Keith Steel Kong as executive chef. With 18 years of experience, he has served as executive and sous chef positions at Silverware Inc. and Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant in Honolulu.

>> Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties has hired Leslie K. Toyooka as area office support manager. She will be responsible for improving real estate associate support services and designing and implementing a training program for area office staff. Toyooka was most recently the manager of real estate special projects for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage's New England Metro Region. She has 13 years of corporate real estate experience in a variety of marketing, educational and recruiting positions.


>> Bank of Hawaii has promoted James A. Chambers, Syin Chao, Vanessa V. DeLima and Kathy Rodriguez to vice president. Chambers continues as an Ala Moana Business Banking Center business banking manager, where he manages a team of five officers. Chao continues as a special assets officer, where he works with business borrowers who are experiencing difficulty. DeLima maintains her responsibilities as Kahului branch sales manager. Rodriguez continues to manage the bank's consumer products and services compliance program.

>> Lynley Minamoto has been promoted to marketing information sciences manager and Michele Honke has been hired as marketing coordinator at Finance Factors. Minamoto will oversee the company's electronic marketing initiatives, including internal communications, sales tools, direct e-mail campaigns, and rebuilding the company's Web site and intranet. She will also build a new customer relationship management database. Honke will assist with marketing strategies including development, execution and implementation of advertising, direct marketing, public relations, communications and promotion plans and projects.

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