Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

[ Taking Notice ]


>> Kamehameha Schools has named Liuone Faagai employment and employee relations manager. He brings 10 years of experience in the human resource industry, most recently as human resources manager for Del Monte Fresh Produce Hawaii Inc. Faagai is responsible for the development, implementation and management of Kamehameha Schools' employment and recruitment program, in addition to creating a supportive work environment for staff through administration and maintenance of departmental policies.

>> Datatronix Financial Services Inc. has hired Marie Gloria as vice president and manager of its new San Leandro, Calif. center. She will focus on operational manage- ment, team leadership and process improvement, bringing more than 20 years of management experience in the financial services industry. Datatronix, which provides outsourcing functions for financial services companies, is owned by Honolulu-based CB Bancshares Inc., parent company of City Bank.

>> Barrie Parker has been named sales manager and broker in charge for Schuler Homes' Pualani Estates at Kona on the Big Island. The first phase released 15 single-family yesterday. The development will have 269 units upon completion. Parker is a long time Kona resident with 28 years of real estate and project management experience. He will work directly with potential homeowners, oversee the Pualani sales staff and assist in the promotion of the project. Schuler Homes is a subsidiary of DR Horton, one of the largest homebuilders in the nation.


>> Grace Pacific Corp. has promoted David M. Takiguchi to manager of GP Maintenance Solutions Inc., a new subsidiary that markets MicroGuard, a coating designed to prevent mold growth, corrosion and staining. Takiguchi will be responsible for the management of sales, marketing and operations. He will also play a role in seeking out products and services to incorporate under the newly formed subsidiary. Takiguchi was most recently a construction project superintendent at Grace Pacific, an employee-owned company with 330 workers throughout the state.

>> Bank of Hawaii has promoted Brian T. Stewart to senior vice president and manager of management reporting. He oversees the bank's overall budget and financial reports for internal business lines. He was most recently vice president and finance officer for the bank's retail and investment services segments.

>> Pauline Uchimura has been promoted to account director and Jay Rubenstein to Midwest promotion account director for The Orchid at Mauna Lani hotel. Uchimura will focus on group business, primarily corporate meetings and group incentives. She has more than 14 years of hospitality experience, most recently as travel industry sales manager at The Orchid. Rubenstein is responsible for Midwest region corporate meetings and incentives. He has more than 13 years of hospitality experience, most recently as a sales manager at the hotel.


>> Faye Watanabe Kurren and Motoshi Ota have been appointed to First Insurance Company of Hawaii's board of directors. Kurren is the president of Tesoro Hawaii Corp., an oil refining, marketing, and distribution company. Motoshi Ota is the general manager of the international department of The Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance Company Ltd. providing support services for all overseas operations. Though based in Japan, he is familiar with the Hawaii insurance market and First Insurance Co.'s operations. First Insurance is a property and casualty insurer offering a broad array of personal, commercial and specialty lines of insurance. Nearly a century old, it employs 280 people on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island. It is a subsidiary of CNA Financial Corp. and Tokio Marine.


>> Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii has presented Niu Awards to the following: Denise R. Hurchanik, William Boykin Quest for Justice Award; Stirling & Kleintop, Distinguished Contribution by a Law Firm; Francis T. O'Brien, Distinguished Contribution by an Individual; J.E. Mayla Blakley, Spirit of Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii (Oahu); Stuart E. Ragan, Spirit of Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii (Neighbor Islands); and Perry W. Confalone, Outstanding Contribution to the Delivery of Legal Services.

>> Junior Achievement of Hawaii Inc. has awarded its $1,000 NFL Charities Pro Bowl Scholarship to Lahainaluna High School graduate Victor Akauola. He in Junior Achievement programs through Lahainaluna's Academy of Training and Tourism and was starting offensive and defensive lineman on its Maui Interscholastic League championship football team. Akauola plans to major in communications at Maui Community College, then continue his education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

>> University of Hawaii student Jon Suematsu has won the CCIM Education Foundation 2002 scholarship of $1,000, plus tuition to a CI 101 class, "Financial Analysis for Commercial investment Real Estate." Suematsu is working toward a bachelor's degree in real estate.

>> Aspiring engineering student Fernanda Fraser has won the Felix B. Limtiaco memorial scholarship, which provides full tuition for an engineering major at the University of Hawaii. Fraser is from the Republic of Palau and entered the university this fall.

Nissan makes $1 billion investment in China

BEIJING >> Joining a surge of investment in China by foreign automakers, Nissan Motor Co. of Japan said it would put $1 billion into a venture to make cars, trucks and buses with a Chinese partner.

"China is Nissan's new frontier," Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn said last week.

Nissan and its Chinese partner Dongfeng Motor Group Corp. said they aim to create a "globally competitive" producer with annual sales of 550,000 vehicles by 2006.

The Japanese company said it plans to spend $163 million to $245 million by then on developing new products for the venture. The venture marks another major jump in investment in China by foreign automakers, who are seeking a share of the country's small but fast-growing car market and want to take advantage of its lower manufacturing costs.

Keells's fortunes rise with Sri Lanka's

Colombo, Sri Lanka >> John Keells Holdings Ltd., Sri Lanka's biggest company, says it has evidence that peace with rebel Tamil Tigers is good for business: Its resort on the Bay of Bengal is fully booked every weekend through December.

As the government and rebels wrap up initial talks in Thailand last week on turning a seven-month truce into a lasting accord, Keells executives say they can start to recoup part of the $100 million they've spent on power plants, banks and hotels. "If there was no war, nothing would have stopped us from moving," Keells Chairman Vivendra Lintotawela said in an interview. "The country would have progressed."

Philippine imports rise for sixth month

Manila >> Philippine imports climbed for a sixth month in July as rising exports to China and other parts of Asia encouraged local electronics assemblers and other manufacturers to stock up on components.

Imports climbed 13.6 percent from a year earlier to $3.02 billion, the National Statistics Office said. That resulted in a third straight monthly surplus of $168 million surplus from a $66 million deficit a year before, according to a Bloomberg News report. The government reported earlier that July exports rose 23 percent to $3.2 billion.

About a quarter of imports to the Philippines are electronics components. Rising imports indicates exporters are confident of demand for computer chips and disk drives. The government is counting on exports to counter an agricultural slowdown and boost economic growth to 4.5 percent this year.

S. Korea's corporate debt default drops

Seoul >> South Korea's key measure of corporate debt defaults fell in August as low interest rates helped companies to acquire more cash and improve their profitability.

The debt default ratio, which measures overdue promissory notes as a percentage of total notes, fell to 0.05 percent last month from 0.06 percent in July, the central bank said in a statement.

The number of corporate bankruptcies dropped to 357 from 369 in July, and new company registrations fell to 2,889 in August from 3,118 the previous month, according to a Bloomberg News report.

Manufacturers expect drop in Australia

Sydney >> The number of Australian manufacturers reporting an increase in production in the third quarter declined from the previous three months and companies expect weaker production in the coming quarter, a survey showed.

The net balance of businesses reporting a production increase fell to 22 percent in the quarter from 29 percent in the second quarter, according the survey by Australian Industry Group/PricewaterhouseCooper's. About 900 manufacturers with annual sales of A$50 billion ($27.4 billion), or 25 percent of total industrial activity, contributed to the survey.

Toyota boosts Mexico manufacturing

MEXICO CITY >> Toyota Motor Corp. said last week it has expanded its manufacturing plants in Mexico from truck beds to whole vehicles as the company aims to boost production in North America.

Toyota hopes to increase its North American capacity by 15 percent before 2010, which may require another plant in the region. Yoshimi Inaba, president and chief executive of Toyota Motor Sales USA, said Mexico is in the running to be the site of the company's next plant.

Counting the Mexican plant in the northern border city of Tijuana, which Toyota recently broke ground on, the Japanese car maker has five manufacturing sites in North America.

BNP Paribas closes Australian venture

Sydney >> BNP Paribas SA, the largest French bank, will close its Australian equities and corporate finance businesses, which employ about 90 people, because of slumping equity markets.

"The decision was taken as a result of the very difficult conditions experienced for equity markets on a global basis," Chantal Mazzacurati, BNP's Paris-based head of global equities, said in a statement sent to Bloomberg News.

BNP Australia will continue investment banking business, focused on debt and fixed-income securities, international money management and investment administration through Cogent, which it purchased from AMP Ltd. earlier this year, said Jean-Francois Varlet, BNP Australia's chief executive.

BNP Paribas is the parent company of First Hawaiian Bank.

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