Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire



A&B makes $6.6 million on sale of Reno center

Alexander & Baldwin Inc. said it has sold a shopping center in Reno, Nev., for $23.5 million.

A&B acquired the 170,800-square-foot Airport Square in 1995. The company did not disclose what it paid for the property but said yesterday it made a $6.6 million pre-tax profit by selling it. The center, anchored by a Costco store and including Office Depot among its tenants, is 98 percent occupied, the company said.

The buyer was Eureka Development Co. and the seller was an A&B subsidiary, WDCI Inc.

Proceeds from the sale will be reinvested either in Hawaii or on the mainland as part of A&B's ongoing real estate strategy, said Allen Doane, A&B president and chief executive officer. A&B has committed nearly $300 million in the last four years to buy or invest in property, according to the company.

Search for caffeinated talent

Eight prizes totaling $2,300 will be awarded to winners of the 4th annual Kona coffee label and Web site competition.

The competition draws on the talents of local farmers, graphic artists and writers to create coffee packaging and Web sites and to promote truth in advertising. Last year's first place label winner was the Kona Historical Society. Top Web site honors went to Bwana Bob's Coffee.

For more information and entry applications, call Valery O'Brien at (808) 322-0088, ext. 120. The deadline for entries is Oct. 17.

Japan insurer based in Hawaii

Japanese corporation Mitsui & Co. Inc. will base its captive insurance company in Hawaii, according to state officials.

Insurance Company of Trinet (USA) Inc. will be the ninth captive to be licensed by Hawaii to insure domestic and global risks of Japanese businesses, according to the state Insurance Division. Mitsui is a publicly-traded company engaged in the global commodities trade, finance and industrial development.

Mainline hearing pushed back

A state judge today gave Mainline Airways a month to appear in court to defend itself against an order prohibiting it from selling tickets to Hawaii. Meanwhile, a temporary restraining order remains in effect against the would-be airline.

Judge Eden Elizabeth Hifo set a Circuit Court hearing for 1:30 p.m. July 9. If Mainline Chief Executive Officer Luke R. Thompson, or a representative of the company, don't show up for that hearing she will issue a permanent injunction against them, she said.

Hifo last week issued a restraint against Mainline after the state Office of Consumer Protection said Thompson was selling Los Angeles-Honolulu tickets for as little as $89 each way when he had no aircraft and none of the required federal or state approvals. Thompson said last week he had closed the business and was making refunds to customers.

PeopleSoft works to fend off Oracle

Trying to fend off a hostile takeover bid by rival Oracle Corp., business software maker PeopleSoft Inc. yesterday added cash and an accelerated timetable to its offer to acquire J.D. Edwards & Co.

PeopleSoft and Oracle both launched major publicity campaigns yesterday, with the companies placing full-page ads in major newspapers.

Executives from PeopleSoft and Oracle planned to spend the week trying to persuade institutional investors and large customers to either back the proposed acquisition or support the hostile takeover bid.

Airbus captures $12.5 billion order

Emirates Airline signed a deal yesterday to buy 41 planes from Airbus Industrie, including 21 A380s, the 500- to 650-seat behemoth that Airbus is building. The order is valued at $12.5 billion, making it one of the largest civil aircraft orders ever placed.

The order for the A380s, signed at the Paris Air Show, was a significant sign of support for the plane, which has been heavily criticized by the Boeing Co., a rival of Airbus, as being too big for the needs of the world's airlines.

Emirates is trying to transform itself into a globe-circling airline that will carry passengers between Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas through its hub in Dubai. The aircraft order fits into that business model.

Kmart first-quarter loss narrows

Kmart Holding Corp., the third- largest U.S. discount retailer, said its first-quarter loss narrowed to $862 million because of lower costs as it exited bankruptcy protection last month.

The loss of $1.65 a share compares with a loss of $1.44 billion, or $2.87, a year earlier, when there were expenses to close 283 stores, Troy, Mich.-based Kmart said in a statement. Sales in the period ended April 30 fell 14 percent to $6.18 billion.

Guidant to stop producing heart device

A subsidiary of Guidant Corp. is ending production of a medical device, days after pleading guilty to covering up problems with the product that may have led to a dozen deaths.

Endovascular Technologies Inc. pleaded guilty to 10 felonies last week involving its Ancure "stent-graft" device, including shipping misbranded products and making false statements to government regulators. It faces $92.4 million in federal penalties.

Guidant officials said yesterday that Menlo Park, Calif.-based Endovascular would cease ongoing operations other than continuing to provide long-term services for patients who have received the device, an abdominal aortic graft. The company will continue to ship the device until October.


[Hawaii Inc.]

New jobs

>> Elaine Evans has been named Hawaii Theatre Center director of development. She replaces Development Coordinator Victoria Okada, who has taken a position with Diamond Head Capital. Evans will be responsible for annual fundraising efforts and special events. She was most recently with Media Matters, representing National Geographic Traveler, Town & Country, Time, Newsweek and Fortune magazines.

>> Radisson Hotels & Resorts and Stanford Hotels have named Cecilia K. Piper to Radisson Waikiki Prince Kuhio director of sales. The company has also named Mahealani Kaleohano and Deidre Williams to group sales coordinators. Piper will be generally responsible for group business at the hotel while Kaleohano and Williams will prospect for group business on the Internet and coordinate in-house groups. Piper's most recent position was in sales at Fairfield Resorts. Kaleohano has been with the Radisson Waikiki Prince Kuhio since 1999. Williams has 10 years of hotel industry experience, most recently the executive assistant at Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel.

>> CP Advertising has hired Scott Kawamura as senior designer and Laura Maruyama as an account executive. Kawamura came from his own graphic design practice, Clutch Design, and has served as a Honolulu Community College graphic design lecturer for the past three years. Maruyama previously worked at ADWorks.


>> Edward Jones investment representative Geal Fukumoto Talbert has achieved the professional designation of certified financial planner. Individuals with this designation must complete course work and a series of examinations. They must also continue to meet education requirements and uphold the Certified Financial Planning Board's code of ethics and professional responsibilities.


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