Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire






>> Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii Inc. has appointed Douglas Pearson as director, house construction. He most recently served as the company's general superintendent and also is president of the Hawaii Steel Alliance.

>> American Savings Bank has appointed Kanani Miyahira assistant vice president. She will be responsible for assisting bank customers in formulating and reaching their financial goals. She has worked for the bank for over eight years and has experience and training in a wide range of financial products.

>> Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties has promoted Chason Ishii to sales executive vice president. He will be responsible for the operations of the company's five area offices and the new agent training office.


>> The Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce has elected new officers for 2004-2005. Kaulana H. R. Park was elected president. He serves as a Department of Hawaiian Home Lands executive assistant. Warren Asing was elected first vice president. He is a Fun Factory executive. Dirk Soma was elected second vice president. He is works for the Kamehameha Schools as director of career education. Linda Paik-Matsuura was elected treasurer. She is an Anonui Builders comptroller. Pauline Worsham was elected secretary. She is president and owner of Pauline Worsham Marketing and Consulting.


Hawaii rates poorly for small business survival, study says

In a newly released study of the small business climate nationwide, Hawaii ranks second to last among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, beating only California and Washington, D.C.

Hawaii took spot No. 49 in the "Small Business Survival Index 2004," which analyzes government costs on business, including taxes and regulatory measures. The report cites Hawaii's high workers' compensation costs, general excise tax, unemployment tax and electricity costs.

The report, released by the Washington, D.C.-based Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, is available at www.sbecouncil.org.

Visitor survey details satisfaction

Visitors from the U.S. mainland, Canada and Europe largely give Hawaii "excellent" marks in a 2003 survey of visitors, while Japanese tourists were more critical.

Some 52 percent of visitors from Japan gave Hawaii an "excellent" mark last year, according to a Visitor Satisfaction and Activity Report released yesterday by the state. At the same time, 72.4 percent of U.S. visitors said Hawaii was excellent, joined by 64 percent of Canadian tourists and 67.5 percent of Europeans.

The survey contains other details of visitors broken down by region, including rental car usage and participation in activities.

The study is available at www.hawaii.gov/dbedt/latest.html.

Sale of eateries to take longer

The sale of Hawaii's 83 Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and A&W-Long John Silver's restaurants will not close today, as previously expected.

"There's still a lot of work," said Henry Katsuda, president of Theo H. Davies & Co. Ltd., which is owned by Hong Kong-based conglomerate Jardine Matheson Ltd.

The company must finish obtaining consents from landlords of properties it leases for its restaurants, he said. With the transition to the new company, the landlords have to approve the transfers of the leases.

It'll take about another month, he said.

Jardine sold Theo Davies' food service and technology services divisions in August to California-based Brentwood Associates, a private equity investment company.

Jardine Matheson also announced last year it would sell off its Hawaii assets to focus on its operations in Asia, and it has since sold Theo Davies' automotive businesses and its heavy equipment company, Pacific Machinery.

Brentwood will retain Theo Davies' 2,289 food service and technical services employees, including Katsuda.

UH program wins accolades

A free money-management program developed by a team of University of Hawaii faculty has been honored by the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Services.

Pamela Kutara, Lynn Nakamura-Tengan, Claire Nakatsuka and Ronaele Whittington, in the UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, were awarded the association's 2004 Dean Don Felker Financial Management Award for the Western region.

The program they developed is called MoneyEd and was launched as a statewide educational project in 2002 by the UH Cooperative Extension Service.

Kutara said almost 220 people have completed the program through the Web site at www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/moneyed, resulting in increased savings, reduced debt or decreased spending of more than $36,400.

MoneyEd also is required in one of the undergraduate courses offered by the college.


Mortgage rates rise on investor confidence

Mortgage rates around the United States went up this week, with 30-year mortgages climbing to the highest level since early September.

Freddie Mac, in its weekly survey released yesterday, reported that rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose to 5.82 percent for the week ending Oct. 7. That was up sharply from 5.72 percent last week and marked the highest rate since the week ending Sept. 9, when 30-year mortgage rates averaged 5.83 percent.

Rates on 30-year mortgages hit a high this year of 6.34 percent the week of May 13. Rates had slowly drifted downward as economic activity cooled in the late spring and early summer and inflation fears receded.

But rates rose in the last two weeks, reflecting investors' growing belief that the economy has emerged from its soft spot and is gaining some traction.

Japan's bailout agency gives Daiei a deadline

Daiei Inc. has an Oct. 12 deadline to apply for a government-led reorganization, Japan's trade and industry minister said.

The company received the notice in a letter from the Industrial Revitalization Corp. of Japan, according to the minister, Shoichi Nakagawa. The agency will not consider an application after the deadline, he said.

Daiei is trying to reduce debt, which stands at about $9 billion. Its largest creditors -- UFJ Holdings Inc., Mizuho Financial Group Inc., and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. -- want it to apply to the agency. Daiei has refused because of concern it would lose management autonomy.

Nakagawa said the notice from the agency was "inappropriate."



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