Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Tuesday, April 3, 2001

Isle bankruptcies rise 12% in first quarter

Hawaii's Chapter 7 bankruptcies jumped 12 percent in the first quarter of this year, to 1,185 filings from 1,056 filings in the same period last year, according to final figures from the U.S. Trustee's Office.

Nationwide, people have been filing Chapter 7 in greater numbers to avoid major changes in bankruptcy laws now being weighed by Congress. The overhaul, which could become effective later this year, would make filing Chapter 7 more difficult. In Hawaii, the increase halts a drop in bankruptcies that began after a record 1,278 were filed in the first quarter of 1999.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings, primarily used by businesses, remained flat this quarter. Chapter 13 filings, which allow individuals to pay their debts, fell 20 percent to 109 from 135.

Pacific Century finalizes sale of Arizona branches

Zions Bancorp. said it has completed the purchase of nine Arizona branches that had been owned by Bank of Hawaii parent Pacific Century Financial Corp. The purchase included about $225 million in loans, around $400 million in deposits and the branch facilities.

Pacific Century's agreement to sell the Arizona branches was announced in late December, and it expected to make a pre-tax profit of about $20 million. The Hawaii company said it was leaving Arizona after 13 years in order to concentrate on California opportunities.

State tax revenues up 12.5% in February

State tax revenues for February rose 12.5 percent to $315.1 million from $280.2 million in February 2000, bringing year-to-date collections for fiscal 2001 to $2.49 billion, a 6.9 percent increase over the year-earlier period. Collections from the general excise tax increased 14 percent to $149.8 million in February from $131.9 million in the same month last year, according to the Department of Taxation. At the same time, individual estate tax collections jumped 76.5 percent to $6 million from $3.4 million.

Haseko to liquidate 3 mainland companies

The Japan-based parent of Haseko (Hawaii) Inc. is liquidating three of its mainland subsidiaries in an effort to pare down $711 million in debt.

Haseko Corp. said the liquidation of its Haseko (U.S.A.) Corp., Haseko (California) Inc. and Haseko (New York) Inc. subsidiaries will result in a $405 million loss for the developer's latest fiscal year, which ended March 31.

But the company said the move will have no impact on its Haseko (Hawaii) Inc. subsidiary, which is developing the 11,000-acre, 5,000-home Ocean Pointe residential and marina complex in Ewa.

Vicky Gaynor, assistant vice president of Haseko Homes Inc., the company's local development arm, said the parent company has been trying to reduce its debt and refocus on the residential development market. Several years ago the company dropped plans to build a retail and luxury condominium project at the Keeaumoku Street superblock site.

According to Gaynor, Haseko Hawaii has sold about 400 homes at its Ewa project and will soon begin construction on its 650-home second phase.

In other news . . .

>> ResortQuest International Inc. said today it has acquired a business that runs 1,200 vacation rental properties on Florida's Gulf Coast. The purchase price for Florida Vacation Accommodations was not disclosed, but the company said it expects the new business to add 2 or 3 cents a share to its first-quarter earnings.

ResortQuest, parent of Hawaii-based Aston Hotels & Resorts, was formed in May 1998 through a merger of Aston parent Hotel Corp. of the Pacific and a dozen mainland resort and vacation-rental operators. With the FVA acquisition, ResortQuest operates more than 19,000 vacation rooms in North America.

>> Central Pacific Bank's Kailua branch, which was on Hamakua Street across from Safeway, has been moved into the Daiei Kailua store, around the corner on Hahani Street. The new branch, near the Daiei pharmacy, opened yesterday and will operate seven days a week.

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