Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Wednesday, November 17, 1999

Hawaii banks raise prime lending rate

Hawaii's top banks today followed their mainland counterparts, raising their prime lending rate to 8.5 percent, from 8.25 percent.

The move by Bank of Hawaii, First Hawaiian, American Savings, Central Pacific and other banks followed the Federal Reserve's quarter-point interest rate hike. The prime rate is charged to the banks' best commercial customers for short-term loans. It is also the base for a range of business and consumer loans.

The Fed yesterday increased the federal funds rate, which banks charge each other for overnight loans, a quarter of a percentage point to 5.5 percent. The central bank also increased the largely symbolic discount rate a quarter point to 5 percent.

Isle water company pares loss; sales up

Hawaiian Natural Water Co. today reported a third-quarter loss of $387,324, or 9 cents a share, less than one-fourth the loss in the year-earlier quarter of $1.6 million, or 40 cents a share.

Sales of $929,880 in the latest quarter were up 80 percent from sales of $515,465 in the 1998 quarter. Much of the sales increase came from the acquisition this year of Kona-based Alii Water Bottling Inc., the company said. Hawaiian Natural Water said it expects to continue to expand its sales with the introduction next month of a line of herbal beverages.

Sea-Land gets new corporate name

The domestic freight business of Sea-Land Service Inc., which includes the West Coast-Hawaii-Guam routes, has a new name, CSX Lines LLC, but the Sea-Land colors and logo will still be used on the ships.

The change came about after Richmond, Va.-based CSX Corp. in March reorganized its Sea-Land subsidiary into three separate businesses. In July, Sea-Land's international business was sold. The company now has CSX Lines and a separate freight-terminal company. The domestic operation has served the Hawaii-Guam market since 1987.

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