Thursday, August 11, 2005

A&B sells remaining
stake in C&H

A&B ends its minority interest
in the California-based sugar
refinery that has ties to
Hawaii dating to 1906

Alexander & Baldwin Inc. said yesterday it has sold its remaining minority stake in the historic California and Hawaiian Sugar Co. to New York-based American Sugar Refining Inc.

American Sugar bought C&H on Tuesday from A&B and New York-based Citicorp Venture Capital Ltd., which bought the majority stake in C&H from A&B in 1998.

Citicorp wanted to sell its investment in the California-based refinery and A&B agreed to follow suit, said Steve Holaday, plantation manager for Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., A&B's sugar growing arm. C&H is Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar's largest customer.

A&B previously recorded a $2.2 million loss to reduce the value of its investment in C&H, and A&B expects to have a $13 million tax reduction because of losses from the investment.

Most of the purchase price for C&H went to outstanding debts, Holaday said.

A&B said it expects the sale will benefit its Maui sugar growing operations by strengthening operations and profitability at C&H.

C&H's new relationship with American Sugar Refining is expected to shore up both brands, which dominate different regions of the United States, Holaday said.

"American Sugar Refining Inc. is the most dominant brand from the East Coast to Chicago," Holaday said. "C&H is the most dominant brand from the West Coast to Chicago."

C&H formerly had been the refining and marketing arm of Hawaii's sugar industry since 1906.

HC&S, which employs more than 900 people on Maui, produces more than 200,000 tons of raw sugar annually. The company's principal businesses include the growing and milling of sugarcane; production of raw sugar, molasses, and specialty sugar; and the generation and sale of electricity.

HC&S also produces premium raw sugar products under its Maui Brand Hawaiian Raw Sugar label.

Alexander & Baldwin Inc.

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