Business Briefs
Star-Bulletin staff & wire reports




Aloha Air finalizes loans, pays off debt

Aloha Airlines said it has finalized $65 million in new emergency loans and completely repaid its $45 million federally guaranteed loan and term loans with local banks.

Aloha's financing package with Goldman Sachs Credit Partners LP and an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management LP let it repay an Air Transportation Stabilization Board-guaranteed loan 2 1/2 years ahead of time.

Aloha filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors late last year, joining Hawaiian Airlines in reorganization bankruptcy.

The carrier paid off the $24.1 million remaining on the guaranteed loan.

Analyst upgrades Hawaiian Electric

Analyst David E. Parker raised Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. to "outperform" from "neutral" and gave the stock a target price of $30 a share.

Hawaiian Electric finished this week at $26.13, off its 52-week high of $29.79 on Feb. 7.

Rebates going way of the dodo?

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. » Retailers' love affair with mail-in rebates may be coming to an end.

In response to customer complaints, Best Buy Co., the world's largest electronics retailer, promised yesterday to eliminate mail-in rebates within two years. Best Buy's rivals, including Circuit City Stores and CompUSA, are expected to follow suit.

"Our customers are telling us they just hate the process," said Ron Boire, executive vice president and general merchandise manager at Best Buy.

But it wasn't immediately clear yesterday whether the Richfield, Minn., company would pass on the eliminated rebates in the form of lower prices, though several industry watchers said they expect the company to do so.

Mail-in rebates exploded onto the retail scene in the 1990s as a way for retailers to stimulate sales without lowering their sticker prices.

New Sears will ax 250 employees

Sears Holdings Corp., created last week by Kmart Holding Corp.'s purchase of Sears, Roebuck & Co., will fire at least 250 workers at its Hoffman Estates, Ill., headquarters as the company streamlines operations.

Sears Holdings gave notice of the job cuts Tuesday, a statement on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Web site showed. Firings of at least 250 employees must be posted 60 days in advance according to Illinois law.

Sears Holdings employs about 4,000 people in Hoffman Estates and about 1,000 at the Troy, Mich., office that was Kmart's base. The company, the No. 3 U.S. retailer, will keep the "vast majority" of its 336,000 U.S. workers, Chief Executive Alan Lacy said last week.

Shareholders approved Kmart's $12.3 billion purchase of Sears, Roebuck, the nation's largest department-store chain, last month. Some workers will stay in Troy, the company said then. Spokesman Chris Brathwaite yesterday declined to comment on the job cuts.

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