Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Tuesday, September 16, 2003



Waikiki cuts rates to boost occupancy

Statewide hotel occupancy rose to 79.6 percent in July, up 4.7 percentage points from July 2002, according to Hospitality Advisors LLC.

Waikiki, which had been below last year's numbers, climbed by 4.2 points year-over-year to 78 percent last month but it may have taken some room-rate cuts to achieve that. The survey firm reported that the average daily room rate in Waikiki in July was $109.86, down 5 percent from $115.66 in July of last year. The statewide average room rate last month was $143.50, up 0.2 percent.

Room rates were up on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island and all the major islands showed occupancy increases.

The Hospitality Advisors figures were similar to the July numbers issued three weeks ago by consulting firm PKF-Hawaii, which reported a July statewide occupancy of 80.3 percent.

Cyanotech appeals Nasdaq delisting

Cyanotech Corp., which received its expected delisting notice from the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Department, said yesterday it is appealing the decision.

The Kona company, which makes nutritional and animal feed products from microalgae, received the notice for failing to comply with the $1 minimum bid price listing requirement. Nasdaq said the delisting, pending appeal, will be effective at the opening of business on Sept. 23.

Cyanotech said it has requested an appeal hearing before the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel and its stock will be allowed to trade on the Nasdaq SmallCap Market during the appeals process. The hearing date has not yet been set.

Cyanotech, which would be forced to trade on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board if it loses its appeal, faces the delisting for failing to get its stock to $1 or higher for 10 consecutive days prior to Sept. 10. Previously, Cyanotech was delisted from the Nasdaq National Market on Sept. 23, 2002, for the same reason. Cyanotech's shares jumped more than 20 percent yesterday to a 52-week closing high of 71 cents.

Hawaiian Electric to appeal fine

Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., owner of the state's biggest utility, said it is appealing a $1.56 million fine imposed for violations of pollution laws at a power plant on the island of Maui.

Maui Electric Co. emissions in 1999 and 2000 violated the state pollution standards, resulting in an order from the Hawaii Department of Health, the Honolulu-based company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Hawaiian Electric said it has since reduced the number of "opacity" incidents at Maui's Maalaea plant by 90 percent since the end of 2000. Opacity measures the amount of light that passes through an exhaust plume.

Persis completes $29 million deal

Persis Corp. announced yesterday it had completed a $29 million sale-leaseback transaction with drugstore operator CVS Corp.

The transaction includes eight recently developed retail properties developed by CVS in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Persis said. The lease structure provides the landlord has no responsibilities relating to repair, maintenance, replacement or any operating or non-operating expenses of the properties, Persis said.

"With 25-year leases and a tenant with over $5 billion in net worth, we are very comfortable with the risk profile of this investment," said Michael Pfeffer, Persis chairman and CEO.

Persis is a privately held family company established in Honolulu in 1856. It owns and manages more than 2 million square feet of real estate throughout the United States.

In other news ...

Central Pacific Financial Corp. declared a third-quarter dividend of 16 cents a share yesterday that will be payable Oct. 24 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 30. It has maintained its dividend at 16 cents for three straight quarters.


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