Earnings fall 6.3% despiteBy Russ Lynch
improvement in American
Savings Bank's performance
The ongoing weakness in Hawaii's economy took its toll on Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., causing a 6.3 percent drop in first-quarter net income, as a dip in electric utility returns wiped out a gain at its American Savings Bank subsidiary.
HEI today reported a profit of $20.8 million, or 64 cents a share, for the three months through March 31, down from $22.2 million, or 69 cents a share, a year ago.
First-quarter revenues of $237.8 million were down 7.9 percent from $258.3 million in the year-earlier quarter.
HEI said the net income from its utility businesses, Hawaiian Electric Co. on Oahu and similar companies on the neighbor islands, was $17.1 million in the latest quarter, down 11.4 percent from $19.3 million in the 1998 quarter.
The net income at American Savings in the latest quarter was $8.5 million, up 1.2 percent from $8.4 million in the year-earlier quarter.
HEI's other businesses, which include the Hawaiian Tug & Barge/Young Brothers maritime towing and freight operations, and energy service businesses in the Pacific and Asia, lost $4.9 million in the latest quarter, a 2.1 percent more than the $4.8 million loss a year ago.
Robert F. Clarke, HEI chairman, president and CEO, said electricity sales were flat compared with a year ago and, while the utilities cut costs, it was hard to offset fixed costs such as depreciation expenses.