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Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


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Verizon Hawaii faces potential downgrade

Verizon Hawaii's long-term credit ratings have been placed on review for possible downgrade by Moody's Investors Service following Friday's announcement that the private-equity Carlyle Group had signed a definitive agreement to purchase the Verizon Communications Inc. subsidiary for $1.65 billion.

Moody's said the review will focus on the continued operating performance of the Hawaii assets, the likelihood of increased leverage and the ultimate capital structure at Verizon Hawaii after the expected closing of the sale in 2005.

Verizon Hawaii has a Baa1 rating for its senior debentures and an A3 on its senior mortgage notes.

Aloha sale received ATSB nod

Aloha Airgroup Inc. won a waiver of terms of a $40.5 million U.S. government loan guarantee to allow the company to sell its Island Air unit.

The company needed approval because the sale wasn't part of its business plan when it received the guarantee in December 2002, said Stu Glauberman, a spokesman for Honolulu-based Aloha. The waiver was granted May 11, said Anne Womack Kolton, spokeswoman for the Air Transportation Stabilization Board.

Island Air was sold to Gavarnie Holding LLC for an undisclosed amount, Aloha said in a May 11 statement. The parent of Aloha Airlines got the guarantee under a program to help carriers recover from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Segway rentals get new driver

Segway Experience of Honolulu has a new owner. Founder Jim Rautio sold the rental business to Bill Haley, who had previously been involved with the company, Rautio said.

The terms were not disclosed.

Rautio is focusing on other business interests, including Mango Moon Wholesale. "I'm trying to put together Mango Moon Wholesale as a clothing line and we're putting in a new silk-screen T-shirt shop and we also have custom computer embroidering and building that has been very time-consuming," Rautio said.

Haley has worked in the local production and film industry since 1979. Rentals from his fleet of 14 Segway human transporters run from $20 an hour for kamaaina to $35 an hour, but a current promotion discounts the normal rate to $25. The stand is at 2155 Kalakaua Ave.

Outrigger takes on 2nd N.Z. hotel

Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, Hawaii's largest hotelier, has been appointed to manage its second hotel in New Zealand, the luxury Outrigger at Clearwater.

The hotelier has expanded rapidly throughout Australia and New Zealand's most popular resort destinations. The addition of Clearwater, which Outrigger will begin managing in June, brings Outrigger's total portfolio of managed properties open or under construction in the region to 15.

Located on 480 acres, the 96-unit resort and its surrounding recreational, retail and PGA Championship golf facilities have a combined value of $45 million.

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