Business Briefs


POSTED: Thursday, April 16, 2009

HEI to charge stock-purchase fees

Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. began charging a commission fee of 3 cents a share today for shareholders purchasing common stock through the company's dividend reinvestment and stock purchase plan (DRIP) and for those employees buying shares through HEI's retirement savings (HEIRS) plan.

Previously, no commission was charged because the company was issuing new shares, but now HEI is purchasing shares through a broker on the open market.

HEI said in a regulatory filing yesterday that common stock it has issued previously through its DRIP and HEIRS programs provided the company new capital of $43 million (about 1.8 million shares) in 2008 and $41 million (approximately 1.7 million shares) in 2007.

So far this year, HEI has raised $14 million of new capital through the issuance of about 1 million shares.

Kauai center unveils new tenants

Kauai retailers, including Kela's Glass Gallery, Palm Palm, Taro Fields, Bubba's Burgers Hawaii and Lappert's Hawaii Coffee & Ice Cream, will be opening new stores this summer at Kukui'ula Village in Poipu.

The new shopping center will have a mix of Hawaii regional cuisine restaurants, open-air cafes and a selection of retail shops.

Hoku cuts polysilicon supply to buyer

Hoku Materials Inc. has amended a polysilicon supply agreement to reduce the amount it will sell to Wealthy Rise International Ltd., a Hong Kong-based subsidiary of Solargiga Energy Holdings Ltd.

Honolulu-based parent Hoku Scientific Inc., which is building a polysilicon plant in Pocatello, Idaho, said the total volume of polysilicon to be sold by its subsidiary to Wealthy Rise will be reduced and that Hoku will be paid up to $136 million over a 10-year period. The amended contract also pushes back the delivery date by three months to June 30, 2010.

Hoku received a deposit of $7 million from Wealthy Rise after signing the initial agreement, and the amendment requires that Wealthy Rise make four additional deposits - in June, August, October and December 2009 - each in the amount of $3.3 million. Wealthy Rise will make a final payment of $200,000 upon receipt of the first shipment of product from Hoku.

Hoku also confirmed that all of its customers are now current with their prepayments, and that the company is in active discussions with other potential customers for the possible resale of the recaptured polysilicon capacity, which would include additional prepayments for products.

Aston hires agent for China market

Aston Hotels & Resorts has appointed Asia Tourism Relations as its China general sales agent to promote and sell the Aston brand within China and Taiwan.

“;For some time, we have been eager to welcome more Chinese visitors,”; Aston President Kelvin Bloom said. “;We are excited to work with ATR. Their expertise and strong relationships with travel partners throughout the region will encourage this emerging tourist market to travel to Hawaii and to choose Aston Hotels & Resorts.”;