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POSTED: Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Ruling on Aloha Tower suit expected

The state Aloha Tower Development Corp. will find out this week whether it will have to pay an arbitration award to Texas-based Hughes Development LP.

U.S. District Judge David Ezra heard arguments for about 45 minutes at a hearing yesterday and indicated he would issue a decision by Friday, said attorney Jeffrey Portnoy, who represents Hughes.

An arbitrator ruled in May that ATDC owed Hughes $1.2 million in damages and attorneys' fees for failure to negotiate in good faith, but ATDC has been fighting payment of the award.

Kahala Assaggio opens with benefit

Assaggio Bistro will celebrate the grand opening of its Kahala location with a “;Good Living, Good Giving”; event designed to give back to the community.

The Ky family, which owns the Assaggio chain, will donate all of the proceeds at its Kahala bistro on Monday and Tuesday to the Aloha United Way. The new bistro is located on 4346 Waialae Ave., across from Kahala Mall next to Umeke Market.

For more information, visit http://www.assaggiohi.com or call 734-1011. Reservations are recommended.

JAL seeks resort flight investments

Japan Airlines Corp. might sell shares in a unit that operates resort-bound international flights and use the money to pay back debt, the Nikkei newspaper reported, without saying where it obtained the information.

The company might sell shares in JALways Co., which operates resort flights, to travel services and trading houses. JAL also might split off its Hawaii and Guam flights as a subsidiary and seek investments in the unit. JAL would maintain a majority stake in the resort businesses, the report said.

Pixi cheaper, lighter than Palm's Pre

SAN FRANCISCO » Palm Inc., which revitalized its product line with the Pre smart-phone launch in June, is hoping to keep momentum going with the release of a lighter, cheaper handset called the Pixi.

The company said today that the Pixi will be available during the holiday season through Sprint Nextel Corp., currently the Pre's exclusive wireless carrier.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Palm would not divulge the Pixi's price tag, but confirmed it will be less than that of its big brother. Sprint dropped the Pre's price by $50 to $150 today, including two rebates and a two-year service contract.

Contrary to a promotion reportedly advertised on its Web site yesterday, Sprint is not offering customers a $100 credit to switch to the Pre from another carrier. Spokeswoman Michelle Leff said the Web site glitch was caused by an error in Sprint's computer system.

The Pixi's release will mark Palm's second attempt in less than a year to use new software and streamlined designs to lure consumers in the fast-growing smart-phone market, which is dominated by Apple Inc.'s iPhone and Research in Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry devices. Smart phones made up 28 percent of consumer cell phone purchases in the second quarter, up 47 percent from the same period last year, according to NPD Group, a market research firm.

New Solar field comes to light

NEW YORK » First Solar Inc. has received initial approval from the Chinese government to build what could become the largest solar field in the world.

First Solar, which makes more solar cells than any other com-pany, said yesterday it struck a tentative 10-year deal to build in China's vast desert north of the Great Wall. The project eventually would blanket 25 square miles of Inner Mongolia—slightly larger than the size of Manhattan—with a sea of black, light-absorbing glass.

The solar field would dwarf anything in operation in the U.S. or Europe. It would produce 2 billion watts, enough to light up 3 million homes. Like most solar plants, it wouldn't produce electricity at night.

Cash could be key to Cadbury

PORTLAND, Ore. » British candy maker Cadbury PLC is awaiting a sweeter offer than Kraft Foods Inc.'s $16.7 billion stock-and-cash proposal. But it is unclear whether Kraft or other potential suitors—like Hershey Co. and Nestle SA—will put more cash on the line, which could prove key to a deal.

Cadbury, the second-largest global candy maker with brands like Trident, Dentyne and Cadbury Creme Eggs, quickly rejected the surprise offer by Kraft Foods on Monday, saying it fundamentally undervalues the company.

ON THE MOVE

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» Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has hired Michael Yee as project manager for facilities and operation services for Disney's Hawaii resort at Ko Olina. He has more than 10 years of real estate development and project management experience and previously was a director of acquisitions and entitlements at LCOR in New York.

» Meetings and Conventions magazine honored the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau with the 2009 Gold Service Award for the 20th consecutive year. HVCB also received the 2009 Platinum Partner Award from Incentive Magazine for the fifth straight year.