Business Briefs


POSTED: Friday, February 20, 2009


Hawaii helps boost Tesoro profit

Tesoro Corp., which operates the larger of the two oil refineries in Hawaii, yesterday reported a fourth-quarter net income of $97 million, or 70 cents a diluted share, compared to a net loss of $40 million, or 29 cents a diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2007.

The San Antonio-based refiner said full-year 2008 earnings were $278 million, or $2 a diluted share, compared to $566 million, or $4.06 a diluted share, in 2007.

The company reported higher gross margins, especially in the Hawaii and California regions, and improved results from its retail segment.

At Tesoro's Campbell Industrial Park facility, the total number of barrels of refined products of gas, jet fuel, diesel fuel and heavy oils fell to 68,000 daily barrels from 75,000 a year ago.


Hawaiian to launch Las Vegas flight

Hawaiian Airlines said yesterday it will launch its new Honolulu-Las Vegas flight with an Elvis impersonator escorting passengers. The flight departs Honolulu at 8 a.m. and arrives in Las Vegas at 3:35 p.m.

Upon arrival, passengers will be greeted by Las Vegas showgirls. Hawaiian is offering this new flight in response to customer demand. It will be offered four times a week in addition to the existing twice-daily flights the carrier already offers between Honolulu and Las Vegas.


Fifth Third enters Hawaii

Two Hawaii-based credit unions recently signed contracts with Fifth Third Processing Solutions for electronic fund transfer services.

These contracts are Fifth Third's first in Hawaii and include HONEA Federal Credit Union, based in Fort Shafter, and Ewa Federal Credit Union, which has operated in Ewa Beach since 1937.

Fifth Third Processing, a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp, is a payment solutions provider that offers ATM driving, debit-card processing and card production services. The company processes more than 28.4 billion transactions a year for more than 2,900 financial institutions and 169,000 retail locations worldwide each year.


Isle travel slump hurts Expedia

BELLEVUE, Wash. » Expedia Inc. reported a fourth-quarter loss of $2.76 billion yesterday, mostly because of a hefty write-down in the market value of the company's assets.

The online travel company reported a loss of $9.60 a share, after a profit of $65.4 million, or 22 cents a share, a year earlier.

The company said weakness in key North American destinations such as Hawaii and Las Vegas hurt package travel revenue, which decreased by 26 percent in the quarter. Lower average daily rates by hotels also cut into revenue.

The $3 billion write-down of goodwill and intangible assets was mostly related to the company's acquisitions of hotels.com, Expedia.com and Hotwire. Expedia has housed the properties since its spinoff from IAC/InterActiveCorp in August 2005.


Hawaii jobless benefit pay jumps

Gov. Linda Lingle has authorized an additional $25 a week in unemployment benefits per claimant, effective Sunday, as part of a federal stimulus package that was signed by President Barack Obama.

The increased benefits will add more than $600,000 to Hawaii's economy each week.

“;This weekly increase in benefits will provide unemployed individuals in Hawaii and their families with additional financial resources to help pay their bills as they get back into the job market,”; Lingle said. “;The increased benefits will not impact the state's general fund or the unemployment insurance trust fund, as all of the benefits are provided through the federal government as part of the economic stimulus package.”;


Honolulu construction jumps

January contracts for future construction in Honolulu jumped from last year, McGraw-Hill Construction said yesterday.

The company reported that nonresidential construction contracts totaled $117.3 million in January, up from $7.6 million a year ago. Residential contracts totaled $6.2 million, down from $24.5 million in 2008.


30-year mortgage rates fall again

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell this week as President Barack Obama signed an economic stimulus measure into law and pledged $275 billion to reduce foreclosures.

The rate fell to 5.04 percent from 5.16 percent a week earlier, Freddie Mac, the McLean, Va.-based mortgage buyer, said today.

Mortgage rates are falling as the Federal Reserve buys mortgage-backed securities to encourage lenders to lower rates.

The average 30-year fixed rate dipped to 4.96 percent the week of Jan. 15, the lowest on record.

This week's 15-year rate fell to 4.68 percent from 4.81 percent last week.