WAILUKU – The state Department of Health Clean Air Branch has issued a notice of violation against Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. for an unauthorized burn last year.
According to a news release, HC&S was cited for burning around 25 acres on Nov. 4 without prior written approval from the department. The company has an agricultural burning permit with the Health Department, but the field that was burned was not among those that were listed on the permit. The violation was self-reported.
HC&S has been assessed a $2,400 fine for the violation.
In a statement issued Wednesday, HC&S General Manager Rick Volner Jr. said, “HC&S takes compliance with its agricultural burning permit very seriously and has instituted safeguards to prevent a recurrence of this incident.”
Volner said the Kahului field was not supposed to be harvested until 2012. But about half of the field was burned in a malicious fire, and the burned cane was harvested immediately. Continue reading
Alexander & Baldwin Inc.’s agricultural sector – led by Maui’s Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. – produced a “strong performance” in 2011 while losses related to Matson Navigation Co. and the real estate sales division put a drag on company profits.
In reporting its 2011 and fourth-quarter financial results Monday, the Honolulu-based company said it logged a net income of $34.2 million, or 81 cents a share, for the year, down 63 percent from the $92.1 million, or $2.22 a share, in 2010 and down nearly 75 percent from the $132 million, or $3.19 a share, in 2008, as the Great Recession began roiling the national economy.
For the fourth quarter, A&B’s net income was only $1.6 million, or 4 cents a share, down from $20.2 million, or 48 cents a share, in the same quarter the previous year.
The company’s ocean transportation sector showed an operating profit of $74.1 million for the year, down from $118.7 million in 2010. This sector of the company suffered losses from the discontinuing of its second China-Long Beach service in the third quarter.
In addition, A&B said that the company continues to make progress on plans to separate its shipping and real estate/agricultural businesses in the second half of this year.
The agricultural sector, which includes HC&S and trucking and storage companies on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, showed an operating profit of $22.2 million in 2011, up 264 percent from $6.1 million in 2010. This is a big contrast from three years ago, when agriculture lost $27 million and the board of directors debated shutting down sugar operations. Continue reading
Although its agribusiness sector continued its recovery in the first quarter, Alexander & Baldwin’s usual profit center, Matson Navigation Co., lost money, and the company reported a thin profit of $5.2 million, or 12 cents per share, Tuesday.
President Stanley Kuriyama said Matson couldn’t adjust its fuel surcharges fast enough to keep up with soaring oil prices.
Agribusiness, primarily Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., had an operating profit of $2.6 million, compared with a loss of $1.1 million in the first quarter of 2010.
It is difficult to compare quarter-to-quarter results for HC&S, since in the first quarter of 2010 the Puunene mill shut down for an extended overhaul and harvesting did not begin until the second quarter. But Kuriyama pointed out that the company’s agriculture operation has now experienced four straight quarters of profitability, following years of serious losses.
It is also difficult to compare quarter-to-quarter changes at Matson, because it signed a significant connecting carrier agreement with a large international carrier and opened a second service to China. Both increased business, but the startup costs for the second “string” of voyages to China resulted in a loss.
Hawaii container traffic was up to 34,000, from 31,400 the year before, partly indicating expansion in the island economy. Continue reading
WAILUKU – Converting those stinky gases from the Central Maui Landfill into electricity could create enough energy to power the equivalent of up to 3,000 Maui homes per year, according to a county-commissioned study.
The 2010 study by engineering consultant A-Mehr Inc. estimated it would cost around $12.6 million to develop a 3.2-megawatt gas-to-energy facility at the landfill or around $8.6 million for a smaller, 1.6-megawatt facility. The report will be reviewed by the Maui County Council Infrastructure Management Committee on Monday, at a meeting that also will include a presentation by the county Department of Environmental Management.
The county already has installed a system to collect and control gas emissions from the Central Maui Landfill, and officials now are evaluating alternatives for using the gases as a renewable energy source, the report notes.
Landfill gases can be used in a variety of ways, including electrical generation and conversion into a high-BTU fuel, according to the report. In addition to providing a source of renewable energy, harnessing the gases is beneficial because it reduces greenhouse-gas emissions and can generate revenue from the sale of the electricity. Continue reading
Sakada Corner, Fil-Am Observer December 2010 Issue
Sakada Feature, Page 8
VICTORIO Palaslas Layaoen came all the way from Batac, moved to Oahu, then to Kauai, then to the Big Island, and then finally to Maui, and never left until he passed on to the next life.
It is a story of courage. It is also a story of a life lived to the fullest.
Born on August 28, 1908 in then a very rural Batac, a town south of Laoag City, in the Philippines, at 19 and restless for something bigger and grander than what Ilocos in those days could offer, he took the plunge to go to Hawaii.
That was in 1928. From Port Salomague in Cabugao, he took the S. S. President Lincoln, and in the rough seas, thought of a peaceful, productive life somewhere in the islands yonder where sugarcane plants and pineapples grew in abundance.
He landed in Oahu, worked there some time; he moved on to Kauai, worked there for some time; he moved to the Big Island, worked there for some time; and then finally, moved to Maui where he worked forever until he retired in 1974 at 65.
Maui was his kadagaan—that Ilokano mindset that talks about the land that is yours for the keeping, at least metaphorically, if not literally. He worked for the HC&S and lived at McGerrow Camp. Later on, he transferred to Maui Pineapple Company at Haliimaile. Continue reading
The rain came down. The price went up, and Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. finished the year with a much improved crop.
The final raw sugar shipment was loaded at Kahului Harbor’s Pier One on Wednesday and Thursday.
The harvest was just shy of 172,000 tons, much better than the 127,000 tons in 2009, but well short of the 200,000 tons the plantation can make in a good year.
In a telephone interview from New York on Thursday, HC&S General Manager Chris Benjamin said that although there is still “a ways to go,” the improved crop and better world prices take the immediate pressure off the plantation.
A year ago, after experiencing heavy losses attributed to a long drought, the directors of Alexander & Baldwin took a hard look at HC&S. The 37,000-acre plantation was the origin of the A&B conglomerate, but today it accounts for only about 7 percent of revenues.
The board approved continuation of the business only until the end of this year, pending improved results.
Financial results won’t be published until next year, but Benjamin said he believes that the board is already satisfied that the operation is on the right track.
At this week’s price of nearly 40 cents per pound of raw sugar (in New York), the crop would be worth more than $130 million, not counting molasses and electricity byproduct revenue, plus the premium for the part of the crop sold as specialty sugars. Continue reading
Early on Saturday, October 23 a blue helicopter with large spray wings attached sprayed the edges of the canefields in Pa‘ia. There were strong and variable winds and the spray blew directly into many nearby residences. Pa‘ia houses emptied as families stepped outside to gawk in awe as the flying sprayer made pass after pass along the canefields at the edge of town.
Moon Over Haleakala inquired of HC&S as to what was being sprayed so close to homes, children and old people – and why?
A&B spokesperson Meredith Ching was kind enough to find out what was going on and to send the Moon a detailed account of the spraying that day. Her full account and a sample of scientific controversy surrounding 2,4-D is on page 14. Our photo gallery of the spraying, and the links to internet sites describing the ongoing controversy surrounding health risks and the approvals for such wide use of 2,4-D are available at our website, mauimoonnews.com.
Below is Moon Over Haleakala staffer Madeline Ziecker’s personal account of events that Saturday morning. Continue reading
Funny how things work out. Our new mayor wants to take over plantation water systems (although when he had a chance four years ago, he backed down).
A couple of years ago, a combination of drought and low prices had HC&S on the ropes, and the board at A&B was beginning to wonder whether sugar was a business they wanted to be in. At best, it accounts for only about 7% of revenue. HC&S is such a small part of A&B that it cannot ever contribute largely to profits, although it can — and recently has — hammered them down.
Since A&B answers to Wall Street, which does not give a damn about Upcountry water meters, low sugar prices open the way to a county takeover of EMI. This would be a disaster, but, like I say, funny how things work out.
Arakawa’s in, sugar prices are up, A&B will presumably stick with HC&S for a while longer, the valley will be green and Kihei will not have to live through endless dust storms. Continue reading
Alexander & Baldwin Inc. tripled its third-quarter profit with greatly improved performances from its ocean transportation service in China and sugar business on Maui.
The Honolulu-based company reported today earning a net profit of $25.7 million, or 62 cents per diluted share of stock, in the July-September period, up from $8.5 million, or 21 cents per share, in the same period last year.
The big gain was largely from A&B’s ocean cargo subsidiary, Matson Navigation Co., which posted a 67 percent rise in operating profit to $40.4 million in the third quarter from $24.2 million a year earlier.
A&B said Matson’s performance was principally driven by higher volume and yields in its China service, which it expanded in mid-September.
Another contributor to the rise in profit was A&B’s Maui sugar subsidiary, Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., which benefited from higher sugar prices and production.
HC&S, along with Kauai Coffee Co., delivered an $800,000 operating profit for A&B, which represents a $13 million improvement from a $13.8 million operating loss in the 2009 third quarter.
Operating profits from real estate leasing and sales were lower for A&B.
Everything about Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. has its roots in past necessity. That became clear during a HC&S tour.
Weeds? Develop “bunch cane.” The kapakahi stalks grow every which way, denying any weed even a bit of sunlight. Destructive insects? Develop cane that resists the pests.
A shallow lens of fresh water on gallons of salty groundwater? Develop – in 1910 – a skimmer well so unique the U.S. Geological Survey refers to it as the “Maui Well.”
The 25-passenger van carried Rotarians from Kihei, members of the Court Stenographers and Captioners Association, a scribbler, corporate Community Relations Manager Linda Howe and Mae Nakahata, HC&S agronomist and Big Island girl who has called Maui home for 25 years. (E kala mai, Mae, for getting your home address wrong in last week’s column.)
After watching a double-snout machine harvest a seed field, the van ran down lumpy asphalt cane-haul roads to a field near the airport. Custom hydraulic cranes grabbed great mouthfuls of cane from windrows shoved together by bulldozers.
The Brobdingnagian claws sometimes drop abandoned vehicles into the 50-ton Tourna haulers. Nakahata said many of the unscheduled cane fires are the result of stolen cars being set ablaze. Continue reading