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Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Wednesday, May 10, 2000

GST shares tumble
on bankruptcy threat

GST Telecommunications Inc. shares fell as much as 83 percent in midday trading today after the provider of voice, video and data services warned that its cash is running out and it may have to file for bankruptcy protection.

Vancouver, Wash.-based GST, which is building a fiber-optic network, said it has sought other solutions to the liquidity crunch, without success.

GST has spent tens of millions in Hawaii to develop a fiber-optic connection between the major islands.

It provides local phone service to Hawaii businesses and operates a local Internet service provider, GST Hawaii OnLine. The company has been trying to sell its Hawaii assets since last summer.

GST's Nasdaq-traded stock fell $2.44 to close at 56 cents. It dropped as low as 50 cents earlier this morning.

Safeway investors vote down proposal

SAN RAMON, Calif. -- Shareholders of Safeway Inc. have rejected a proposal to ban genetically engineered foods from the grocery chain's shelves.

While shareholders met yesterday, a small band of anti-biotech demonstrators held a rally outside, symbolically dumping milk, ketchup, cornflakes and other foods made with genetically modified ingredients. They chanted, "Hey hey, ho ho, test tube food has got to go."

Inside, shareholders overwhelmingly turned aside a proposal by the Sisters of Notre Dame De Namur, a Roman Catholic order in Saratoga, Calif., near San Jose.

The group, which owns 8,800 shares of Safeway stock, co-sponsored a resolution that would have directed Safeway to remove biotech foods sold under Safeway's house brand.

The proposal also would have had Safeway label those foods until they could be removed. About 97 percent of shareholders voted against the proposal.

Safeway operates 1,663 in the United States and Canada. It plans to open its 19th Hawaii store in Kihei, Maui, later this year.

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