Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire



Hawaiian Air panel asks for delay

A committee representing Hawaiian Airlines' unsecured creditors plans to file a response today seeking more time to make a decision regarding Boeing Capital Corp.'s request for a trustee to lead the carrier through bankruptcy, a source close to the situation said yesterday.

Boeing Capital, the airline's largest aircraft lessor, said it wants the trustee appointed because it lacks confidence in Hawaiian's management.

The seven-member creditors committee is expected to take up the issue again tomorrow or Thursday, the source said.

Meanwhile, Hawaiian Chief Financial Officer Christine Deister will appear before creditors at 10 a.m. today in a U.S. Trustee hearing room, 1132 Bishop St., Room 606, to answer questions. The meeting is open to all creditors.

Hawaii hands ResortQuest a profit

ResortQuest International Inc. said today a 6.4 percent gain in Hawaii gross lodging revenues helped the company reverse a loss in the year-ago period and post a gain of $742,000 in the first quarter.

The company, which owns the Aston Hotels & Resorts chain in the islands and operates dozens of vacation businesses on the mainland, had a $3.7 million loss in the first quarter of 2002. ResortQuest had earnings per share of 4 cents compared with a loss of 19 cents a share a year earlier.

Revenues fell 5 percent to $46.6 million from $49 million a year ago.

ResortQuest said its Hawaii region gross lodging revenues increased to $39.5 million in the quarter from $37.1 million a year ago as the state continued to rebound toward pre-9/11 levels. The company did say, though, that activity in the state experienced a downturn in mid-March due to the war in Iraq and concerns about severe acute respiratory syndrome.

Starwood posts first-quarter loss

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. >> Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. today reported a net loss for its first quarter, largely because of an impairment charge related to the expected sale of 18 hotels.

Revenue fell 1.2 percent amid the "distressed" travel environment, said the hotel and leisure giant.

Starwood, which manages and/or markets about a dozen hotel properties in Hawaii, including luxury hotels in Waikiki and neighbor island resorts, reported a net loss of $116 million, or 58 cents a share. That compares with net income of $32 million, or 16 cents a share, in the prior first quarter.

In other news ...

>> U.S. workers' wages and benefits rose by a brisk 1.3 percent in the first three months of 2003, the biggest increase in nearly 13 years, the Labor Department reported today.

>> The Consumer Confidence Index rose to 81 from a reading of 61.4 in March, the Conference Board reported. The confidence number registered for April was far better than the reading of 70 that analysts had expected.

>> Dynegy Inc., rebuilding itself after the collapse of the energy merchant business, today reported a quarterly profit for the first time since 2001 helped by higher power prices.


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