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POSTED: Saturday, May 02, 2009

Maui Land loss widens to $13.2M

Maui Land & Pineapple Co.'s financial woes continued in the first quarter as it lost $13.2 million and saw its revenue plunge 38.5 percent amid a decline in visitor arrivals and slower real estate sales.

The Kahului-based company, which has laid off hundreds of workers in the last two years and replaced its top management, is coming off a year in which it lost $79.4 million, including a $70.6 million loss in the fourth quarter when it agreed to sell its Plantation Golf Course in Kapalua for $50 million.

That deal closed in March but the sale was accounted for as a financing transaction and, accordingly, no gain was recognized in the first quarter.

MLP's loss last quarter widened from a $414,000 loss in the first quarter of 2008. It had a loss per share of $1.65 versus a loss per share a year earlier of 5 cents.

About $10.5 million of last quarter's net loss resulted from the year-over-year decrease in profit from the company's equity investment in Kapalua Bay Holdings LLC.

Revenue fell to $15.6 million from $25.4 million a year ago.

MLP had an operating loss of $3.2 million in its community development division, a loss of $4.2 million in its resort unit and a loss of $3.5 million in its agriculture division, which is primarily pineapple.

Horizon increases fuel surcharge

Horizon Lines is matching rival Matson Navigation Co. and increasing its fuel surcharge by 1.5 percentage points for its Hawaii-mainland service to 16.5 percent, effective May 24.

In addition, Horizon is raising its fuel surcharge to 18 percent, from 16.5 percent, for its service to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The increase, which also matches Matson, is effective May 24.

Horizon, which had decreased its fuel surcharge six consecutive times before this increase, said it will continue to monitor fuel costs and adjust the fuel surcharge as trends warrant.

Matson announced its fuel-surcharge increase last week, while Pasha Hawaii, which transports vehicles between Honolulu and San Diego, said earlier this week that it will keep its fuel surcharge at 12.5 percent.

HECO to add more solar energy

Hawaiian Electric Co. has plans to more than double the amount of solar-generated electricity in the state.

HECO filed an application with the state Public Utilities Commission to launch a photovoltaic (PV) pilot program that could add up to 16 megawatts of new PV systems over two years. PV systems use silicon panels to generate electricity from the sun.

Under the proposal, HECO would lease rooftops or other space from property owners for the PV system. PV developers would own, operate and maintain the systems and sell the energy to the utilities for a fixed price.

Mokulele begins Hilo jet service

Mokulele Airlines added a fourth destination to its interisland jet service yesterday with the launch of service between Honolulu and Hilo.

It will operate four flights a day between the cities on its 70-seat Embraer 170s.

The airline also operates jet service between Honolulu and Kahului, Kona and Lihue, and uses turboprops to fly to smaller island airports.

Mokulele, founded in 1998 as Mokulele Flight Service Inc., began jet service in November.