ML&P still pushing for Pulelehua

LAHAINA – Maui Land & Pineapple Co. executives told Maui County Council members Wednesday night that the bad days are behind them and as soon as the housing market shows firm signs of improvement, they will be ready to move forward with long-planned developments, such as Pulelehua.

But first, they need the county to give them the land entitlements, said Ryan Churchill, ML&P president and chief operating officer.

However, Churchill was met with some skeptical members of the council’s Land Use Committee. Council Chairman Danny Mateo and Vice Chairman Mike Molina both pointed out that they went out on a limb five years ago to grant ML&P’s Kapalua Mauka development all the zoning and other land classification requirements it needed to move forward, but not one shovel of dirt has been turned on the project.

AR-Cal inks Maui Gold deal

by Tim Linden

AR-Cal Distributing in Arvin, CA, has taken over as the exclusive North American sales agent for the Maui Gold pineapple, which is now being grown and packed by the Haliimaile Pineapple Co. Ltd. in Halliimaile, HI.

AR-Cal is the marketing and distribution arm of Trino Packing & Cold Storage Inc., which is also headquartered in Arvin and owned by longtime produce industry veteran John Trino.

Mr. Trino said that he has long had an affinity for Hawaii and became well acquainted with the Maui Gold pineapple when it was being marketed by the Maui Land & Pineapple Co.

That company, which owns and operates resort properties and golf courses in addition to its agricultural division, has had well-publicized financial issues during the past couple of years.

Maui Land & Pineapple Co. has sold off several golf courses and also sold the rights to the “Maui Gold” brand name.

Mr. Trino said that backers of the new pineapple company have pumped a good deal of money into the operation over the past year and have secured significant land for production.

Since Jan. 1, Haliimaile has been shoring up the sales of pineapples in Hawaii and has been mostly using Calavo for its mainland sales. Mr. Trino has been consulting for the firm on an informal basis since 2009 while it was under development, and recently agreed to the exclusive marketing agreement.

“I am basically going to be acting as a broker and a sales agent,” he said. “Haliimaile will do billing and invoicing.”

Mr. Trino said that the key to successful sales of the Maui Gold pineapple on the mainland is to limit supplies to the extent that there is demand.

“I told them to build up their sales in Hawaii and to grow slowly in North America,” Mr. Trino said. “You cannot flood the market. No longer will there be consignment sales. Everything will be an f.o.b. sale.”

AR-Cal’s agreement was slated to begin officially Oct. 1, but on Sept. 29, when Mr. Trino spoke with The Produce News, he said, “We have cans on the water and are taking orders.”

He said that the f.o.b. price Long Beach, CA, or Seattle, which are the two ports to which the product is being shipped and unloaded via ocean freighter, was $11.50 on that day.

“There has been about a five- or six-week gap in supplies, which has made for a good transition,” he added.

Although the Maui Gold has typically enjoyed better sales on the West Coast because of its proximity to Hawaii, Mr. Trino said that the company is selling nationwide and will air freight to the East Coast when appropriate.

But he added that Mexican pineapples are typically $2-$4 cheaper and enjoy a freight rate advantage to the East Coast, so the demand is limited.

“But it is the best-tasting pineapple there is,” he stated.

Handling sales of the product for AR-Cal is Harold Stein, another longtime produce sales veteran.

The Produce News AR-Cal inks Maui Gold deal

Maui Land & Pine sells Kapalua Bay Golf Course

Maui Land & Pineapple Co. Inc. is selling the Kapalua Bay Golf Course to TY Management Corp. for $24.1 million.

The sale of the course and its maintenance facility at the Kapalua Resort on Maui’s northwest shore is expected to close by the end of September.

Maui Land will operate the golf course under a lease that runs through March 31.

“With this transaction, we are able to consolidate the ownership of both Kapalua golf courses with an esteemed partner,” said Warren Haruki, Maui Land’s chairman and interim chief executive officer, in a statement.

Maui Land sold last year the Plantation Course, also at the Kapalua Resort, to TY Management Corp., a Hawaii-based company.

The 6,600-yard, par 72 Bay Course, which opened in 1975, was designed by Arnold Palmer and Francis Duane.

The course has hosted many high-profile golf tournaments, including the Lincoln Mercury Kapalua International and the 2008 LPGA Kapalua Classic.

Maui Land & Pine sells Kapalua Bay Golf Course – Hawaii News –

Debt due for Ritz Kapalua

Estate now seeks resort foreclosure
By HARRY EAGAR, Staff Writer

In April 2009, the owners of The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua defaulted on the loans they had taken out to rebuild the hotel in 2007.

The amount owed, principal and interest, approached $300 million, but the lender, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., in bankrupty itself, did not press the issue for another 16 months. This week, the Lehman estate in bankruptcy filed for foreclosure against Gencom Group and Whitehall Street Global Real Estate, claiming it is owed $255 million.

The move was reported by The Wall Street Journal.

How the principal was reduced over the past year is unknown. Many resorts in Hawaii are in default, but most do it in privacy. The Ritz-Carlton’s trouble became known because Maui Land & Pineapple Co. was a 16 percent partner, and as a regulated public company, had to disclose the default in its reports, which it did in May 2009.

Well offers chance to clear most of meter waiting list

WAILUKU – Maui County will be offered a chance Tuesday to buy a water well in Makawao that could make deep inroads into the Upcountry meter waiting list.

The well, known as Piiholo South, already exists, and it has been tested to produce 1.7 million gallons per day of water pure enough to drink without further treatment, according to Zachary Franks and Cynthia Warner, the developers.

But to finance the proposed $8 million price (including infrastructure), the county would likely have to find funds outside the Department of Water Supply. In the past, water source development has been paid for with department funds, not county general funds, supplemented by grants and borrowing through bond sales.

Only recently has the county budget supplemented the finances of the water department, with $1 million for a study of storage in the current budget. But until now, the department has had to pay for its own wells and reservoirs, unless it could get the state to cover the bill, as it did with the Kahakapao reservoirs.

The County Council Water Resources Committee will take up the issue during a meeting beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Council Chambers. Panel Chairman Mike Victorino said discussion of the matter would be preliminary.

“The focus of the committee meeting will be simply to gather information,” he said. “But there is possible public use of this privately owned well, and I’m eager to explore this potential.”

Garden teachers cultivate new ideas


A single harvest of corn yielded many lessons for Sacred Hearts School students last week.

After picking hybrid Indian corn from the school garden, the students were counting kernels that came in yellow, blue, dark brown and a rainbow of other colors.

“Today we were doing math with corn. Corn math,” science enrichment teacher Ed Mahoney said Thursday.

The lessons also involved a discussion of genetics, the history of corn used by Native Americans as well as a taste test of their bounty – without the greasy additives found on movie theater popcorn.

Mahoney and three other Maui teachers were able to learn more about how to use school gardens in their daily curriculum, and shared ideas with other teachers from schools with garden programs, at the 3rd annual Summer School Garden Teacher Conference, supported by The Kohala Center, in Waimea on the Big Island in July.

Mahoney was joined by Kathy Becklin of Kihei Elementary School, Lisa Daily of Haiku Elementary School and Craig Eckert of Montessori School of Maui. The four were selected for the conference by Lehn Huff, University of Hawaii Maui College Sustainable Living Institute of Maui interim director.

SLIM was established by the college and Maui Land & Pineapple Co. as a center for gathering information, generating new knowledge, developing applications and validating appropriate technologies for eco-effectiveness and sustainable living.

Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc. Announces Completion of Repurchase of Senior Secured Convertible Notes

LAHAINA, Hawaii–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc. (NYSE:MLP – News) today announced that it has successfully retired all of its $40 million of senior secured convertible notes. The Company repurchased the notes at 90% of face value, inclusive of a 2% lock-up fee previously paid to the note holders, utilizing proceeds from its just completed, over-subscribed, $40 million shareholder rights offering.

The Company plans to use the remaining proceeds from the rights offering for general working capital purposes in its resort and real estate development operations.

“The rights offering and retirement of our convertible notes represent significant steps in our continuing efforts to strengthen our financial condition,” said Warren H. Haruki, Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer of MLP. “We are grateful for the confidence demonstrated by our shareholders in the long-term prospects of the Company,” he added.

Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc. Announces Completion of Repurchase of Senior Secured Convertible Notes – Yahoo! Finance

Steve Case’s ownership in ML&P now at 62.8 percent


WAILUKU – AOL co-founder Steve Case has significantly expanded his stake in Maui Land & Pineapple Co., buying additional stock that increases his ownership to 62.8 percent of the company.

Case paid $15.6 million to acquire an additional 4 million shares, according to a report filed Monday with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. The deal comes just days after Case paid $16.5 million to acquire 4.27 million shares July 28, under a rights offering by the company.

The back-to-back transactions more than triple Case’s holdings in Maui Land & Pineapple, to a total ownership of 11.8 million shares.