Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Wednesday, February 25, 1998

Daiei reiterates plan for Ala Moana sale

Japan's largest retailer, Daiei Inc., is keeping alive the idea of using its Ala Moana Center to raise money to pay off some of the company's debt.

The idea of selling securities backed by part of the asset value of Ala Moana, first raised in September, resurfaced yesterday after Daiei announced refinancing plans. Officials at Daiei's Kobe headquarters told Bloomberg News that the firm is still considering the move, which could bring in more than $380 million at today's rate of 128 yen to the dollar.

The center's value has been estimated at up to $1 billion, so if the company does make the move Daiei apparently would maintain a controlling interest.

Daiei this week announced plans to sell assets in Japan worth $1.65 billion as part of a debt-reduction plan. Daiei, which has a total debt of more than $20 billion, bought a 60 percent interest in Ala Moana in 1982 and acquired full ownership in 1995.

Realtors' convention to spotlight high tech

For the first time, the annual convention of the Hawaii Association of Realtors this year will include a technology exhibition and lectures on how to use the latest innovations for day-to-day real estate business.

The organization's first Techonology Expo & Convention will be held Sept. 16-18 at the Kauai Marriott, with the theme "Beyond the Rainbow."

Registration is $159 a person until July 1, $179 after that. Contact the association at 737-4000. The association is a statewide organization with about 5,600 real estate professionals.

Continental Air, pilots reach tentative pact

HOUSTON -- After a week of round-the-clock negotiations, Continental Airlines and its pilots union have reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year contract, a union spokesman said today.

Jim Moody, spokesman for the Independent Association of Continental Pilots, said he did not yet know details of the agreement. The agreement is subject to union approval.

The New York Times reported today that the deal would protect Continental's 4,400 pilots in the event that Northwest and the Houston-based airline fully merge.

Last month, Northwest agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Continental for $519 million, allowing the two airlines to coordinate flight routes and combine frequent-flier programs.

But Continental pilots had questioned the alliance, fearing it would lead to a full-scale merger and threaten job security provisions such as what routes they fly and how often they fly.

Jack in the Box gets $58 mil in E. coli case

LOS ANGELES -- The parent company of the Jack in the Box fast-food chain has agreed to accept $58.5 million from nine beef suppliers to end litigation filed after tainted hamburger killed four people in 1993.

The deal with Foodmaker Inc. ends a string of court battles, including nearly 100 lawsuits filed on behalf of people who ate burgers contaminated with an especially virulent strain of E. coli bacteria. Hundreds were sickened.

The outbreak eventually was traced to several Jack in the Box outlets in Washington state. Foodmaker sued its supplier, the Vons Companies Inc., and eight companies that sold beef to Vons.

Details of the settlement were not disclosed.

Safeway Inc., parent of Vons, confirmed that it had settled all claims made by Foodmaker.

See expanded coverage in today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
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