Local Industry for Sunday — April 05, 2006

NEWS & NOTES


First Hawaiian donates a bundle

  • The First Hawaiian Bank Foundation donated a record $2.9 million to charity in 2005, a 17-percent increase from the year before. More than 330 non-profits organizations benefited.

“We appreciate and support the dedication of the non-profit community to make Hawai’i a better place,” said First Hawaiian President and Chief Executive Officer Don Horner.

The First Hawaiian Bank Foundation is the state’s largest corporate charitable foundation, and a Pacific Business News survey found it to be tops among all Hawaiian companies for charitable donations.

As for the bank itself, employees contributed a record $565,852 in 2005, well over half of the almost $1 million given overall. In addition to local charities, significant contributions went to the disaster relief efforts in the wakes of Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in South Asia.


Alexander & Baldwin Foundation gives $2 million in 2005

  • Almost 500 non-profit entities were the beneficiaries of more than $2 million in donations from the Alexander & Baldwin Foundation. The vast majority of that — $1.7 million — was given to 312 non-profits serving Hawai’i and the Pacific Islands.

On Kaua’i, A&B operates Kauai Coffee Company, Kauai Commercial Company and Kukui’ula Development Company.


Honolulu firm steps up interisland cargo shipping

  • Hawai’i’s largest inter-island cargo provider announced $186 million in spending over the next 10 years to boost inter-island services.

“We have great confidence in Hawai’i and are investing in the state’s future,” said Young Brothers Limited president Glenn Hong.

The company plans to spread the investment out over barges, tugboat, equipment and information systems. The eight new roll-on/roll-off barges can carry more than 500 cars, effectively doubling capacity. Officials hope this will increase efficiency after a 36-percent increase in barge sailings in 2005. The first one should be in service by the end of this year.

In addition, Young Brothers will increase its tug fleet by six boats.

Plans to partner with the state for facility improvements several ports are in the works as well, though no changes are on the slate for the company’s dock in Nawiliwili.

Revamped information systems that will allow customers real-time freight, invoice and tracking data over the Internet should be in place by January, 2008, said vice president and general manager Vic Angoco.

The Honolulu-based Young Brothers has been in business since 1900.


ML Macadamia Orchards report 2005 results

  • After recording a net loss of $1.6 million in 2004, ML Macadamia Orchards posted a net income of $771,000 in 2005. Company officials credited a larger harvest, improved nut contract prices and lower legal fees for the turnaround.

The Hilo-based company’s 2005 net cash flow of $2.5 million was more than five times that of 2004. The macadamia nut industry relies heavily on fourth quarter sales, and improved rainfall during developmental stages and a strong spring harvest led to $654,000 in net income for the fourth quarter, a marked improvement from 2004, when the company posted a net loss of $576,000.

ML Macadamia Orchards is the world’s largest grower of macadamia nuts, with access to over 4,000 acres of orchards on the Big Island.


Agriculture tidbits

  • Kaua’i agriculture suffered from the recent heavy rains, according to the Hawaii Field Office of the National Agriculture Statistics Service. Agriculture activities were minimal, and damage-assessment proved difficult in light of excessive road damage. Papaya orchards were reported to be in poor to fair condition, with fruit showing signs of fungus and disease infestation. Spraying efforts intensified in rare breaks in the rain, though weeks of poor sunlight stunted the ripening process.

Sweet corn fields were also making poor to fair progress, though some fields were expected to be harvested this week. Guava harvesting was also light, though farmers were able to perform some field maintenance and pruning.

  • Vegetable production across the state varied significantly in certain plantings from February to March. Heavy rains, insect infestation and fewer harvest days contributed to decreases in the expected harvests for snap beans (down 43 percent), sweet corn (down 20 percent), head lettuce (down 17 percent), cucumbers (down 16 percent) and cabbage (down 11 percent). Other harvests are expected to increase significantly, thanks in part to cooler temperatures in certain areas. Dry onions are up 200 percent, while green onions and romaine lettuce are up 25 percent. Chinese cabbage is expected to increase by 17 percent.
  • Hawaiian honey production in 2005 was up 54 percent from 2004, despite the national total declining by five percent. According to a report from the Hawaii Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Hawai’ian hives yielded 1.18 million pounds of honey in 2005, aided in part by a jump of the number of honey producing colonies from 8,000 to 9,000. At 33.67 million pounds, North Dakota produced the most honey of any U.S. state. Across the nation, honey prices fell to 90.4 cents per pound, down 15 percent from the year before. Hawai’i’s prices fell by 16 percent, to $1.34 per pound.
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