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Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Building contracts surge 25% in isles

The value of permits written last month for future construction in Hawaii rose 25 percent from May 1999's level, according to the F.W. Dodge division of the McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., which monitors contracts nationwide.

May permits totaled $203.7 million, compared with $162.5 million a year earlier. Nonresidential permits for work such as commercial buildings and schools totaled $87.3 million, up 56 percent from a year-earlier $56 million. Permits for residential work were worth $74.6 million, up 46 percent from $51.1 million and nonbuilding permits, for jobs such as streets, highways, bridges and airports, totaled $41.8 million, down 25 percent from $55.4 million. Construction permits written through the first five months of this year totaled $560.5 million, down 26 percent from $761.2 million in the same period last year.

Gannett acquiring newspaper chain

PHOENIX -- Gannett Co., publisher of USA Today, the Honolulu Advertiser and scores of other newspapers, is acquiring Central Newspapers Inc., owner of The Arizona Republic, The Indianapolis Star and four other dailies, in a deal worth $2.6 billion, the companies said today.

The sale continues a recent buying spree by Gannett, already the nation's largest newspaper group.

Gannett agreed to pay $64 a share for Phoenix-based Central Newspapers stock. There had been widespread speculation of the sale and, before the announcement, Central stock slipped 12.5 cents to close at $64.25. The sale is the second major purchase this month by Gannett, which earlier agreed to buy 21 Thomson Corp. newspapers for $1.125 billion. Before the latest acquisitions, Gannett owned 74 daily U.S. newspapers.

In other news . . .

Bullet City Bank will move its Hilo branch to the Ben Franklin Hilo Center, where it will open July 24. The site at 333 Kilauea Ave. is a few blocks from the present location in the 700 block of Kilauea.

Bullet BURLINGTON, Mass. -- Genuity Inc. shares fell $1.59 to $9.41 today in the largest initial stock sale of a U.S. Internet company as investors, wary about fierce competition, refused to pay top dollar.

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