First Hawaiian ratings affirmed
Standard & Poor
's has affirmed First Hawaiian Bank
's AA- long-term credit rating. The rating services agency cited overall consistent earnings, a diversified loan portfolio and strong asset quality, First Hawaiian said yesterday.
Last year, the bank's long-term credit rating was upgraded from A+ to AA-.
Honolulu high for building costs
Honolulu has the third-highest construction costs in the nation, according to a report released by Reed Construction Data Inc.
Honolulu's building costs were 20 percent higher than a 30-city national average in April, only lower than San Francisco at 23.4 percent and New York at 32.5 percent. Honolulu had the 48th highest increase in costs from last year at 3 percent, less than half New York's top increase at 6.1 percent. The national average was 4.2 percent.
Thinker Tots opens in Ala Moana
Thinker Tots, a store for babies and toddlers, has opened in Ala Moana Center.
The locally owned store, located near the center court area of the mall, offers organic and hard-to-find toys as well as educational toys for children ages six and older.
Thinker Tots stores are also located at Kahala Mall and Pearlridge Center.
Economy contracted last month
NEW YORK » Factories laying off workers, stocks tumbling and shoppers ditching their credit cards forced the economy to contract in June, a trend likely to continue in the second half of 2008, a private business group said yesterday.
The New York-based Conference Board's forecast of future economic activity fell 0.1 percent last month, in line with forecasts by Wall Street economists surveyed by Thomson Financial/IFR.
The group also revised May's number downward to a 0.2 percent decrease, from a 0.1 percent increase.
Volkswagen posts record sales
FRANKFURT, Germany » Volkswagen AG
said yesterday it achieved record global sales in the first half of the year, delivering 3.27 million vehicles, a 5.8 percent increase over the same period last year.
In the January through June period, Volkswagen saw the biggest increases in India with 69 percent more deliveries, Russia with 63 percent more deliveries, and Ukraine with nearly 50 percent more deliveries.
Chinese deliveries also saw a 23 percent increase, while Brazil saw nearly 22 percent more vehicles delivered.
New hires / Promotions
» Outrigger Enterprises Group has named Bruce Musrasrik
as retail operations manager. His 12 years with the company include general manager of Ohana Islander Waikiki.
» Royal Hawaiian Showroom has named Alvin Yeh as director of operations for LEVEL4 Nightclub and Ultra Lounge. His 10 years of experience include general manager and partner of Pearl Ultra Lounge and director of VIP services at Wynn Las Vegas.
» The Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. has named Karen Seddon as executive director. Her previous jobs include director of land development at D.R. Horton-Schuler Division, and positions at Kapalua Land Co. and Goodfellow Bros.
» Maui Divers Jewelry has named Tina Yuen as director of photography and multimedia. She was previously a photographer at Pacific Business News for nine years.
» Mobi PCS has named Kamna Upadhyaya as director of financial planning and analysis. Her 20 years of experience include senior vice president of Reliance Communications in Mumbai, India, chief financial officer at Capita Offshore Services Private, business and commercial director at Accenture, financial controller at eFunds International, and controller and financial accountant at Coca-Cola India.
» Starwood Hotels & Resorts Hawaii has promoted Peggy Odenbach to regional sales manager from director of leisure sales at Sheraton Maui Resort. She will be based in Northern California and work with travel agents and wholesale partners in Northern California, the Pacific Northwest, BC Canada, Idaho and Nevada. Her previous jobs include director of sales and marketing for Marriott International, and editorial and advertising positions in the publishing industry.
» The Muscular Dystrophy Association has re-elected KITV-TV president and general manager Michael A. Rosenberg as an MDA national vice president. MDA national vice presidents provide volunteer counsel in their areas of expertise to support the association's lifesaving research and services program.
» The Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce has elected its officers for fiscal year 2008: Ronald Hayashi, chairman; Sidney Hamada, chair-elect; Leo Asuncion Jr., vice chair finance/treasurer; Wayne Kato, vice chair administration/secretary; and vice chairs Scott Fujii, Scott Higa, Christine Kubota, Candice Naito and Darrell Yamagata.
» East-West Center has elected international development economist Puongpun Sananikone as chairman. He replaces Roland Lagareta, who became the board's vice-chairman. Sananikone's experience includes operations officer for the Asian Development Bank, chief economist and director of Asian operations for Louis Berger International and executive vice president of Hawaiian Agronomics International.