Isle water firmStar-Bulletin staff
loses $3.3 mil
Hawaiian Natural Water Co. had a loss of $3.3 million, equal to 83 cents a share, in 1998 compared with a loss of $2.6 million or 85 cents a share in 1997.
The company, still spending money on expanding its bottled water markets, had operating expenses of $2.2 million last year, compared with $1.8 million in 1997.
A big part of the 1998 loss was a one-time expense of $1.1 million in connection with its contract with a financial public relations consultancy that helped it during and after its initial public offering in May 1997.
The Honolulu-based company said yesterday that its marketing efforts were showing up in sales, with a 73 percent increase to net sales of $1.8 million last year, from just over $1 million in 1997. The company more than doubled its annual sales volume, a 105 percent increase to 309,000 cases of bottled water in 1998 compared with 151,000 in 1997.
The company, which bottles pure water from deep underground below the Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island, has tied up marketing arrangements with several international sports and health equipment and services brands.
It has distribution arrangements in Japan, Kuwait, Guam, Taiwan and Thailand as well as networks in Hawaii and on the mainland.
Marcus Bender, president and chief executive officer, said 1998 was a year in which significant investments were made in the manufacturing and bottling plant as well as in personnel. Bender founded the company in late 1994.