Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

First Hawaiian parent taps A&B's Doane for board

BancWest Corp. has appointed W. Allen Doane, president and chief executive officer of Alexander & Baldwin Inc., to its board of directors. The company, parent of First Hawaiian Bank and San Francisco-based Bank of the West, last year became a wholly owned subsidiary of French company BNP Paribas but still maintains its own board.

Doane held senior executive posts at C. Brewer & Co., its former parent IU International, and the privately owned Shidler Group before joining A&B in 1991. He became head of A&B in 1998.

Doane's appointment came at the same time as the retirement from the BancWest board of J.W.A "Doc" Buyers and Gen. Fred C. Weyand. With the retirements, the bank's board is reduced to 19 members from 20.

Blockbuster to open store in Parker Ranch Center

Blockbuster Inc. will open a new 4,100-square-foot Big Island store at the recently-renovated Parker Ranch Center in Waimea.

The new store will be the third Blockbuster for the Big Island and the 23rd in the state. The store is scheduled to open this spring. The Parker Ranch center has 121,000 square feet of new and renovated retail space. Anchor tenant Foodland Super Market is about to finish construction of its store. Leases have been signed with Starbucks Coffee, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Healthways II.

Las Vegas casino workers may strike this month

LAS VEGAS >> Las Vegas casino workers may go on a citywide strike at the end of this month, when most of their labor contracts expire, the Wall Street Journal said.

Members of the city's Culinary Union are angered by job cuts after Sept. 11 and subsequently learning of some casino executive's perks and bonuses, the paper said. A strike vote is set for May 16, it said.

The last big strike in Las Vegas was in 1984, when about one-fourth of casino workers went to the picket lines and casino revenue was slashed by 9.6 percent, the Journal said.

The Culinary Union represents about half of the workers employed at big casinos, or 53,000 housekeepers, waitresses and bartenders in the city, the paper said.

Salomon Smith Barney upgrades Japan weighting

TOKYO >> Salomon Smith Barney Inc. increased Japan's weighting in its global stock portfolio at the expense of the United States and Europe, saying rising demand for exports and increased production at companies may lead a recovery in the world's No. 2 economy.

It upgraded Japan to "overweight," recommending investors boost their holdings to 11.2 percent versus a benchmark 9 percent, according to a Bloomberg News report. The brokerage is widening its "underweight" position in U.S. stocks to 45.3 percent against the benchmark 53.3 percent, and paring its Europe holdings to 32 percent, which is still higher than the benchmark 30.1 percent.

"We are not buying Japan for its defensive qualities, so defensive areas are avoided," Mat- thew Merritt, the London-based global equity strategist, wrote in a report dated April 27. "We are searching for cyclical value."

The upgrade comes after Merrill Lynch & Co., Credit Suisse First Boston Ltd. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. upgraded Japanese stocks in the past three months.

Cisco beats estimates as earnings triple

SAN JOSE, Calif. >> Cisco Systems Inc., the No. 1 maker of gear that directs Internet traffic, said quarterly earnings more than tripled last year's weak results. The San Jose, Calif.-based company said fiscal third-quarter earnings before one-time items rose to $838 million, or 11 cents a share, from $230 million, or 3 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Analysts were expecting Cisco to earn 9 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

Revenue in the third quarter ended April 27 rose to $4.8 billion from $4.73 billion last year.

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