A Black Day for Agriculture in Hawaii
Up to 285 jobs will be lost
Maui Land & Pineapple Co. announced today that it will cease pineapple operations by the end of the year and restructure its resort and land development division.
Up to 285 employees will be laid off. This comes after 274 employees were laid off in July of 2008 and 100 more jobs were cut earlier this year.
The current work force numbers 624, and the company hopes to offer up to 133 employees positions at partner companies.
In a statement, ML&P Chairman and interim CEO Warren Haruki said:
"The painful decision to close pineapple operations at MPC (Maui Pineapple Co.) after 97 years was incredibly difficult to make, but absolutely necessary. We realize this ends a significant chapter in Maui’s history — an important part of many lives, over many generations."
Haruki said that Maui Pineapple Co. had lost $115 million in agriculture since 2002 while investing $20 million in capital expenditures for a new fresh-fruit packing facility.
"Realizing that these losses could no longer continue, we spent the last year exploring options to keep pineapple operations going on Maui," he said. "Despite our efforts, it became clear that there were no other financially viable options."
Changes were also announced in the resort operations for Kapalua Land Co., which until now had managed most phases of the Kapalua Resort.
According to the statement issued today, the company will "partner with ‘best in class’ operators in their respective fields who can manage select assets of the resort more effectively."
The arrangements to be concluded on or before Dec. 31 include:
— Appointing a management company to manage the 206-unit Kapalua Villas.
— Leasing the equipment and to license operations of Kapalua Adventures to a "well-respected zipline activity company."
— Choosing an operator to provide resort shuttle and security services.
— Finding a new operator of Kapalua Farms.
Last week, Maui Land & Pineapple Co. reported a $25.5 million loss for the third quarter of 2009, bringing the company’s losses for the first nine months of 2009 to $92.9 million — larger than the $76.1 million loss the company recorded for the entire year in 2008.
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