Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire




Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, center, was a speaker at yesterday's ground-breaking of the first Krispy Kreme in the state, attended by more than 300 people. The Maui factory store at 433 Kele St. is scheduled to open on Jan. 27. Gerard Centioli, behind Arakawa, president and chief executive officer of the Hawaii and Northwest franchise for Krispy Kreme, plans to open two stores on Oahu. No date has been set for either store.


Census class offers tools for businesses

The U.S. Census Bureau will conduct a free hands-on workshop in Honolulu Nov. 18 to show businesses, professionals and anyone interested how to use their computers to access the vast array of information on the Census Web site.

As a marketing tool, for example, it is possible to break down ethnicity, incomes and other data about people living in an area as small as a few blocks in Honolulu or any other city.

Ted Liu, director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, which is co-sponsoring the event, said the class also is valuable for businesses or organizations needing data for grant applications, federally assisted programs, affirmative action reports and many other projects.

Jerry Wong, a Census Bureau information specialist from Los Angeles, will conduct the three-hour class at 9 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. Participants will use computers to follow his directions. Space is limited and those wishing to take part should register early, the organizers said. To register or find out more, call DBEDT's research and economic analysis division at 586-2466 or send an e-mail to

Mililani center draws new tenants

The Town Center of Mililani will soon welcome another campus of the University of Phoenix, which will occupy 18,660 square feet. It is to move out of its current space in Mililani Technology Park by January.

Another new tenant, Price Busters, is in the 11,312-square-foot space formerly occupied by Woolworth's. The store opened Oct. 22 and is nearly three times larger than its former Mililani store.

The Mililani mall is on 45 acres off Meheula Parkway. Its 90 tenants include Wal-Mart, Longs, Consolidated Theatres and City Mill.

Kauai tops September occupancy

A second hotel industry report confirms that Hawaii hotels did significantly better in September than they did a year earlier. Hospitality Advisors Inc. said statewide hotel occupancy last month was 70.2 percent, up 5.6 percentage points from 64.6 percent in September 2003. Kauai did best, reporting occupancy of 80.2 percent, followed by Oahu at 73.7 percent, Maui at 67 percent and the Big Island at 56.6 percent.

The firm said the average room rate last month was $133.01, up 2.1 percent from a year-earlier $130.22, and revenue per available room was $93.39, up 11 percent from $84.14 in September 2002.

Earlier this week another Honolulu hotel consultancy, PKF-Hawaii, issued a similar estimate, pegging September occupancy at 69.7 percent, up 3.7 points from a year-earlier 66 percent.

Volunteer tax preparers wanted

The IRS and AARP Tax-Aide are seeking volunteers to provide free tax assistance in Hawaii during the next tax filing season.

Volunteers will prepare federal and state tax returns for people who are elderly, disabled, non-English speaking or living on limited incomes. Last year, 300 volunteers assisted 10,000 taxpayers.

The IRS, the Hawaii Department of Taxation and AARP are offering free training for volunteers. For more information, call Kalfred Chang at 531-8863 or call the IRS at 539-1503.

Fannie Mae accounting flawed

Fannie Mae disclosed a $1.2 billion accounting error yesterday for the third quarter, a mistake a federal regulator said shows the need for close government scrutiny of the mortgage-market giant.

The error, which Fannie Mae said was due to a change in accounting rules, does not affect the company's net income.

The disclosure follows accounting and management turmoil at smaller rival Freddie Mac and financial problems at the Federal Home Loan Banks in New York, Atlanta and Pittsburgh.

Lipper's Strafaci indicted for fraud

Edward Strafaci, former executive vice president of Lipper Holdings LLC, was indicted for securities fraud on charges he overstated the value of two hedge funds by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Federal prosecutors in New York unsealed a four-count criminal indictment accusing Strafaci, who was also Lipper's director of fixed-income money management, of orchestrating a six-year scheme to cheat investors in two funds, Lipper Convertibles and Lipper Convertibles Series II.

The charges are the latest allegations of wrongdoing at hedge funds, loosely regulated private partnerships open to affluent institutions and individuals.

EU cuts forecasts for economic growth

Confirming months of bleak economic news, the European Union's head office slashed its growth forecasts for 2003 yesterday and said unemployment would probably worsen next year.

The European Commission expressed general optimism about the future but warned that the long-term health of the European economy depended on governments following through on difficult welfare and labor market reforms.

In its biannual economic forecast, the Commission projected 0.4 percent growth this year in the 12 countries using the euro, down from the already anemic 1 percent estimated in April.


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