Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Thursday, March 25, 1999

Hawaiian Air shares wealth with workers

Hawaiian Airlines Inc. has shared $760,000 with 2,870 of its employees, in the first profit-sharing payout in the airline's 70-year history. Paul J. Casey, president and chief executive officer, and other top managers yesterday hand-delivered the checks, an average of $265 per employee, to workers throughout Hawaiian's system.

Hawaiian reported a record operating profit of $17.4 million for 1998, up from an operating profit of $2.5 million in 1997. That triggered the payout under an agreement made in 1996, which calls for Hawaiian to give its employees 10 percent of any operating profit over $10 million. The bonus was a percentage of each employee's annual pay.

S&P calls Japan a risky investment

TOKYO -- Trapped in a deep economic slump, Japan is becoming an increasingly risky place for investment, the U.S. credit rating agency Standard & Poor's said today. "Investors can expect substantially greater credit risks in Japan in the near term as profound structural changes in the economy and the breakdown of traditional business practices gain momentum," the report said. Corporate bankruptcies and loan defaults likely will increase over the next two years as Japan struggles to recover from its worst postwar economic slump, the company said.

Mortgage rates fall below 7 percent

WASHINGTON -- The average interest rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages dipped below 7 percent this week for the first time in four weeks. The average declined to 6.98 percent, down from 7.01 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac, the mortgage company.

The average had held below 7 percent from mid-June of last year through February. Fifteen-year mortgages averaged 6.61 percent this week, down from 6.64 percent last week. One-year, adjustable-rate mortgages, averaged an initial rate of 5.69 percent, down from 5.75 percent.

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