Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Sunday, October 21, 2001



>> Grace Pacific Corp. has named Bob Wilkinson president and chief executive officer. He had served as the president of Ameron Hawaii for the past five years.

>> David Lee has been named vice president of property services at Outrigger Hotels and Resorts. He will be responsible for oversight of capital projects at all Outrigger and Ohana properties. Lee joins Outrigger after serving as director of capital projects at Sheraton Hotels and Resorts Hawaii.

>> Thien Dowling has been named coordinating producer at Hawaii Sports Network. She was chief operations officer at Recruiting Coordinating Services of America before joining HSN during its inception. Hawaii Sports Network also has named Doris Sullivan its director of student services for the Hawaii Sports Network Athletic Prep Academy. She will assist local high school students with college preparation and athletic recruiting. Sullivan most recently served as a banking center manager at Bank of America.

>> Sandi Kato-Klutke has been named general manager at the Aston Poipu Kai Hotel. She returns to Aston after working at a hotel on the Big Island.

>> Alston Hunt Floyd and Ing Attorneys at Law has hired Dianne W. Brookins and Isaac H. Moriwake as associates; as well as Susan K. Park and Julie M. Wade as of counsel.

>> Lisa Halvorson has been named director of customer relationship management at AIG Hawaii Insurance Co. She previously served as assistant and vice president and public relations manager at First Hawaiian Bank.

>> Central Pacific Bank has hired Toshiya Matsumoto as vice president and relationship banking officer, Waikiki Branch Also at the company, Naomi Masuno has come on board as assistant vice president and relationship banking officer, Pearlridge Branch; Garrett Grace was hired as assistant vice president and business relationship officer, business banking division; Martha Samson was named assistant vice president and quality administrator, quality and training division; Laurie Sloan was hired as assistant vice president, documentation center; and Ivy Takenaka was named financial service officer, Lihue Branch.

>> Mason Horiuchi has been named director of Japan Sales-Hawaii at Hawaiian Airlines Inc. He was general manager at The Tour Shop/Aloha World for 12 years before joining Hawaiian Airlines.

>> Athea J. Hargreaves has been named management executive at Hawaiiana Management Company Ltd. She most recently served as customer service manager and construction liaison at Watt Homes.

>> David Giudici has been named sales executive at Hagadone Printing Co. He joins the company after serving as a commercial account manager at Kinko's.


>> Cheryl M. Palesh has been promoted to chief engineer at Belt Collins Hawaii Ltd. Palesh, who has almost 30 years of experience in the engineering industry, also serves as vice president on the company's board of directors. She has been with Belt Collins Hawaii since 1989.

>> Dew-Anne Langcaon has been promoted to chief operating officer of Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children. She retains the executive roles she carries with Kapiolani Medical Center at Pali Momi, the Kapiolani Health Research Institute, and Kapiolani Medical Specialists. Langcaon joined Kapiolani in 1993 as director of financial planning for the medical center.

>> Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo has promoted Greg Coghill to chief operating officer. Also senior vice president and managing director of the Honolulu-based company's Newport Beach office, he will oversee WATG's architectural, planning, design and consulting services worldwide. Coghill joined WATG in 1983.

>> Kirk F. Clagstone was named area manager and vice president for CPBL operations in Charles Pankow Builders' Honolulu office. He has been with Pankow for 13 years, and overseas the management of pre-construction and construction activities for all of its Honolulu projects.

>> Michael Moon was promoted to district indirect manager for sales and distribution at AT&T Wireless Services. He has been with AT&T since 1995. Also at the company, Ferna Yamamoto was promoted to indirect channel account executive at the wireless division. She most recently served as retail manager at the company's Downtown-Pacific Guardian store.

>> Vern F. Berry has been named general manager at the Hawaii Planing Mill Ltd. Builder's Express facility in Kailua-Kona. A 20-year employee at HPM, he previously served as vice president of the commercial supply division at the company.


>> Robert Midkiff was named chairman of the board of the Hawaii Theatre. Other officers include: Mary Foster, vice-chair; Gary Hahn, vice-chair; Al Tomonari, vice-chair; Judy Perry, secretary; and Paul Schraff, treasurer.

New directors are: Mona Abadir, Edward Gerard, Michael Healy, Melanie Holt, Trish O'Neill, Puchi Romig and Mark Wong.

Re-elected board members are: Norman Goldstein, Gary Hahn, Robert Midkiff, Richard Morris, Paula Sussex, Anne Swanson and Gwen Zane.

Newly elected advisory board members include: Samuel A. Cooke, Bill Mills, Gunner Schull, Jim Nabors, Frankin Tokioka, Laurence Vogel, Blake Waterhouse and Indru Watumull.

>> Laurie S. Lowson of Lowson & Associates Ltd. was named president of the Maui Board of Realtors Inc.

Other newly elected officers and directors: President-Elect Moana L. Andersen, Equity One Real Estate Inc.; Secretary Janet L. Anderson, Aina Maui Properties; Treasurer Nancy Montoya, Whalers Realty Inc.; and Treasurer-Elect Cathy Paxton-Haines, Equity One Real Estate nc.

Directors-at-large elected for three year terms are: Colin W. Dunlop, Maui Isle Realty; Donna D. Hansen, Coldwell Banker Island Properties Inc.; and Vincent Palmieri, Aina Maui Properties.

>> Kathy Lau was elected president of the American Business Women's Association Onipaa Chapter for 2001-02.

Other newly elected officers are: Jo Miguel Segovia, vice president; Lila Marantz, corresponding secretary; Dee Conquest, recording secretary; and Fay Yamura, treasurer.


>> Roy Sakamoto of Sakamoto Properties Ltd. was named Realtor of the Year by the Maui Board of Realtors Inc. David McCreight of Four Star Mortgage Corp. was named Affiliate of the Year and Dianne Jarois of Coldwell Bankers Island Properties Inc. was named Realtor Associate.

Wal-Mart CEO files to sell $8.3 million in stock

WASHINGTON >> Wal-Mart Chief Executive H. Lee Scott filed to sell stock worth $8.3 million at current prices in the biggest retailer.

Scott disclosed the planned sale of 160,000 shares acquired through stock options in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The executive isn't obligated to sell all of the stock listed in the filing and doesn't plan to sell any shares until after third-quarter earnings are announced in November, Wal-Mart spokesman Tom Williams said.

Wal-Mart shares have gained 16 percent since Sept. 21, when the stock hit an 11-month low in the first week of trading after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Wal-Mart is among the discount chains expected to benefit most if the economy slows further because it caters to customers shopping for items at lower prices.

Office Depot promotes controller to CFO

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. >> Office Depot Inc., the largest U.S. office-products retailer, promoted Charles Brown to chief financial officer and executive vice president, a year after the previous CFO retired.

Brown, 48, will continue to manage the finance area and take on responsibility for tax, treasury, investor relations and corporate communications, Office Depot said in a statement. He joined the company in 1998. James Walker, who was vice president of stores finance, succeeds Brown as controller and senior vice president, finance.

Former CFO Barry Goldstein retired in October 2000, and the position has been open since then, spokeswoman Eileen Dunn said.

Barclays Capital hires to build CDO business

NEW YORK >> Barclays Capital said it hired Eileen Murphy to build a collateralized debt obligation group.

Murphy, who was head of CDOs at Chase Securities Inc., will be responsible for the same kind of underwriting at Barclays PLC. She will be based in New York and report to Vincent Balducci, global head of risk finance for Barclays.

Barclays is the latest firm to expand into the business, following Greenwich Capital Markets Inc., which in May hired Fred Matera from Credit Suisse First Boston to build the business.

Collateralized debt obligation sales surged to $120 billion last year from less than $20 billion in 1996, according to Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown. Investment banks package securities such as junk bonds and asset-backed debt into new bonds, which are sold to investors.

Wendy's buys $250M in shares from director

DUBLIN, Ohio >> Wendy's International Inc., the No. 3 U.S. hamburger chain, bought back $250 million in shares from board member and largest shareholder Ronald Joyce.

Joyce sold 9.7 million shares for $25.75 each, the company said in a statement. Wendy's said it now has 113 million common shares outstanding.

Joyce, a founder of the company's Tim Hortons unit, acquired 16.5 million shares when Wendy's bought the Canadian coffee and doughnut shop franchise in 1996 for $454.6 million. The transaction made Joyce Wendy's largest shareholder, with a 13.5 percent stake. Wendy's founder Dave Thomas held a 4.3 percent stake as of March, according to the company's latest proxy statement.

Gillette CEO Kilts is in for a close shave

BOSTON >> Gillette Co. Chief Executive Officer James Kilts has said he is determined to reverse falling profit by reviving sales of Duracell batteries, the company's second-largest business after razors. Some investors say Kilts, on the job for eight months, may not have much time to prove that he has chosen the right strategy for ending a four-year profit slide that led shareholders, including Warren Buffett, to oust Kilt's predecessor a year ago.

GM expects to double auto sales in China

Detroit >> General Motors Corp. expects to double its sales in China to 60,000 this year and expand its vehicle financing service in the world's most populous country, Chairman John F. Smith said.

The largest automaker builds four midsized sedans, a wagon and a compact car in a joint-venture plant in Shanghai and builds sport-utilities in another joint venture in Shenyang. Smith said China has the potential to become the world's largest vehicle market.

GM has been expanding in China in recent years in hopes that the nation of 1.3 billion people would take off as a major car market.

Argentina debt talks inspire fresh worries

BUENOS AIRES >> Hoping to avert a possible debt default and a deepening of a protracted recession, Argentina is working to restructure billions of dollars of debt -- a move Wall Street is watching with extreme caution.

Despite the injection of some $20 billion in emergency financing by the International Monetary Fund and other lenders over the past 12 months, Latin America's third-largest economy continues to struggle.

At the heart of the crisis is Argentina's $132 billion debt, equivalent to 50 percent of the country's gross domestic product. Only three months ago, President Fernando De la Rua admitted the country was close to delaying repayment of its debt.

Now money is again running low with many analysts predicting Argentina has only two to three months of funds left to pay the interest due on its bonds.

Friday, the government was wrapping up a first week of negotiations with local banks, pension funds and provincial governors on a proposal for a debt swap of perhaps as much as $15 billion.

Goldman to shut Mexico brokerage operation

NEW YORK >>Leading Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs Group Inc.said it is shutting down its 16-person equity brokerage business in Mexico, because of a marked drop in volume on the local stock exchange.

Goldman joins other brokerages examining their overseas strategies as stock markets slide. The shift comes after firms poured money overseas when markets were buoyant in the late 1990s, on the belief the expansion would pay off long-term.

Goldman will offer a quarter of the employees positions elsewhere in the firm and will not take any charges, a source close to the matter said.

Nokia profit falls less than expected

Espoo, Finland >> Nokia Oyj, the biggest cellular-phone maker, reported a smaller-than-expected decline in third-quarter profit and predicted handset sales will rebound in the fourth quarter, sending its stock up 5.6 percent.

Net income fell to 760 million euros ($684 million), or 16 cents a share, the high end of Nokia's estimate, from 923 million, or 19 cents a share, a year earlier. The profit margin at its mobile-phone unit unexpectedly rose from the second quarter.

"This is just what you want in this environment," said Rob Sellar, who helps manage Aberdeen Asset Management's $1.2 billion Global Tech Fund, which includes Nokia shares. "Nokia continues to surprise all the analysts with their handset margins."

Nokia, which sells a third of the world's cellular phones, expects its handset sales to rise 25 percent this quarter from the third as it introduces new models, including one that lets users play music and video games, before the holidays. It forecast fourth-quarter earnings of 18 cents to 20 cents a share.

Shares in Nokia have climbed 45 percent since last month's attacks on the U.S. as investors speculated sales will rise as people try to stay in contact with relatives and friends.

Online coffee sale helps Guatemalan beat crisis

FINCA LAS NUBES, Guatemala >>Worries over how to harvest this year's crop amid a worsening price glut have most Central American coffee farmers wringing their hands in angst. But Guatemalan producer Fabio Solis is rubbing his with glee.

In a competition held earlier this year, gourmet beans from his "Las Nubes" plantation were voted the best in Guatemala by some of the world's fussiest palates and fetched previously unthinkable prices in a follow-up Internet coffee auction. This year he is looking forward to a bumper crop he hopes he can sell abroad for a healthy profit.

Former U.S. East Coast gourmet roaster and coffee-shop owner George Howell introduced competition-auctions to Brazil in 1999.

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