Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Thursday, November 15, 2001

Isle water firm narrows loss, awaits merger vote

Hawaiian Natural Water Co. narrowed its third-quarter loss to $314,314, equal to 5 cents a share and about half the loss of $626,381, or 8 cents a share, the company reported for the third quarter of last year.

According to its filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, the company had net sales of $944,999 in the latest quarter, up 23.4 percent from $765,629 in the year-earlier quarter.

The company said it quit selling its Xen-brand drinks containing herbal extracts at the end of September. They had never produced satisfactory sales volume.

The report shows the company still in a deep financial hole, dependent for its financing on loans from Nebraska-based Amcon Distribution Co. Hawaiian Natural said it has past-due debts of about $876,000 and soon will have to pay off $1.9 million in notes.

It has a merger agreement with Amcon and a special meeting of Hawaiian Natural shareholders has been set for Dec. 17 to vote on the merger. A favorable vote is expected and Hawaiian Natural should merge into Amcon that day, the company said. If the merger doesn't go ahead for some reason, Hawaiian Natural is unlikely to survive as a going concern, the SEC document says.

ML Macadamia profits drop 47.8% in quarter

ML Macadamia Orchards LP, which owns or leases more than 4,000 acres of orchards in three locations on the Big Island, said yesterday that its earnings dropped 47.8 percent in the third quarter as production and the average nut price both declined from a year ago.

The company posted net income of $485,000, or 6 cents a share, compared with $929,000, or 12 cents a share, in the third quarter of 2000.

The company generated total revenue of about $4.8 million, with $3.6 million coming from its nut operations and $1.1 million from farming. This compared to last year's third-quarter revenue of $6.0 million, of which $4.4 million was nut revenue and $1.6 million was farming revenue.

Nut production for last quarter, which was 20 percent above the historical average for the period, still was down 14 percent from the three-month period ending Sept. 30, 2000.

The average nut price re- ceived for last quarter was just over 49 cents a pound, a 4 percent decline from the third quarter of 2000. The nut price is determined by a formula which is weighted 50 percent on the two-year trailing average of prices reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and 50 percent on the current year processing and marketing results of Mauna Loa Maca- damia Nut Corp., the firm's exclusive purchaser of nuts.

Study ranks KGMB news as best in Honolulu

Columbia University's Project in Excellence in Journalism has ranked the news coverage of KGMB as the best of Honolulu's four television stations.

The magazine gave CBS affiliate KGMB an "A" rating, noting that it had the most stories focusing on civic institutions and politics and the fewest stories on everyday crime. However, the report noted that during the evaluation period the station did no stories based on its own investigations.

All three other stations were given "B" ratings. KHON (Fox) was ranked second, KHNL (NBC) third and KITV (ABC) last in the study. Overall, the Honolulu market ranked third of the 14 markets studied. The Project in Excellence in Journalism, a journalistic think tank, has studied local tele- vision news across the country for the past three years.

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