Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Wednesday, June 16, 1999

Hawaiian Air traffic rose 4.4% in May

Hawaiian Airlines Inc. reported a 4.4 percent increase in its May traffic, carrying 452,728 passengers last month compared to 433,491 in the year-earlier month. Hawaiian said its load factor, the percentage of seats filled, was down as it increased the number of available seats it had in the air.

Gas-card scheme warning issued

A gasoline purchasing program gaining circulation in Hawaii is actually an illegal pyramid investment scheme, the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs warns.

Promoted as the Fast Team Penny Gasoline Club, the system recruits members who are told they can purchase cards worth $100 in gasoline purchases for $1 each. That is conditional on each person recruiting two new members who in turn each have to recruit two.

Oracle shares surge on strong earnings

REDWOOD SHORES, Ca. -- Oracle Corp. shares surged 31.1 percent after the world's largest database software maker's fourth-quarter profit beat forecasts. The stock closed up $7.81 to $32.94 on the Nasdaq. The volume was 101.46 million shares, making it the most actively traded stock of any exchange.

Amazon to purchase stake in Sotheby's

NEW YORK -- Internet superstore Inc. is investing about $45 million for a 1.7 percent stake in Sotheby's, and they will cooperate in developing an online auction service that will sell art and collectibles.

The centerpiece of the alliance will be a jointly run Web site that will be called It will be aimed at the general antiques collector and will feature everything from coins and stamps to toys and animation art.

Gas, pesticide cited for Coke scare

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Coca-Cola Co. blames substandard gas used to put fizz into drinks at a bottling plant in Belgium and a pesticide on wooden crates at a plant in France for a health scare that led three European nations to ban distribution of the soft drink company's brands.

Following the hospitalization of dozens of Belgians suffering from nausea, Coke said it found separate problems at the two plants supplying the Belgian market.

Circuit City to drop unit, split stock

RICHMOND, Virginia -- Circuit City Group, the No. 2 U.S. consumer-electronics retailer, said it will pull the plug on its unprofitable Divx digital video disk venture, resulting in a $114 million fiscal first-quarter charge. The retailer also said it will split its stock 2-for-1, and reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings before the Divx charge. Its shares closed up $8.37, or 10.2 percent, to $90.37 on the NYSE. Circuit City invested about $200 million in Divx, hoping to capitalize on the growth of digital video disk players. The machines play disposable, pre-recorded disks as well as regular DVD movies.

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