Start over on Big Wind, group tells state

A community group that opposes the development of large-scale wind farms on Lanai and Molokai is asking state regulators to reopen the bidding process for the projects, saying the original agreement is no longer valid because one of the developers dropped out.

An attorney for Friends of Lanai said a decision by First Wind LLC not to pursue the Molokai portion of the proposed project triggered a series of events that were not authorized under the original approval granted by the Public Utilities Commission last fall.

First Wind withdrew from the project after missing a key March 18 deadline set by the PUC to show that it was making progress on its planned 200-megawatt Molokai wind project. Castle & Cooke Resorts, which is pursuing a 200-megawatt wind project on Lanai, met the deadline. The two projects, dubbed “Big Wind,” would transmit electricity to Oahu via an undersea cable under a plan that is still in the preliminary stages.

Friends of Lanai attorney Isaac Hall noted that the PUC had to grant a waiver for the Big Wind project to proceed because its proposed size exceeded Hawaiian Electric Co.’s original request for proposals of up to 100 megawatts of renewable energy.

“Since only one party timely complied (with the PUC deadline), Friends of Lanai believes that the waiver is no longer valid

California firm joins Molokai wind project

Pattern Energy Group is expected to “engage all of the community”

Molokai Properties Ltd. said it is teaming up with a new company to develop a proposed wind energy proj­ect on the island after it was unable to come to terms with its previous partner, First Wind LLC.

MPL joined forces with San Francisco-based Pattern Energy Group on the proj­ect that, as envisioned, would transmit wind-generated electricity to Oahu via an undersea cable. The proj­ect, with 90 wind turbines and a generating capacity of 200 megawatts, represents half of the so-called Big Wind proj­ect that would include the transmission of an equal amount of wind energy from Lanai to Oahu.

Executives from Pattern and Molokai Properties held three community meetings in early March to brief the community on the proposal, said Peter Nicholas, MPL’s chief executive officer. Nicholas said he hoped Pattern’s plan would be better received by the community than what had been proposed by First Wind.

MPL broke off talks with First Wind in November following two rounds of negotiations in which the two sides were unable to reach agreement on a land price and the approach to community involvement. MPL, which also does business as Molokai Ranch, owns 60,000 acres on Molokai, or about 40 percent of the island.


SmarTrend(R) News Watch via COMTEX) — Below are the bottom five companies in the Real Estate Development industry ranked by Revenue Per Employee (RPE). Analysts use RPE as a measure to compare the productivity of companies in the same industry.

Maui Land & Pineapple (NYSE:MLP) ranks first with an RPE of $152K; Avatar Holdings (NASDAQ:AVTR) ranks second with an RPE of $245K; and Stratus Properties (NASDAQ:STRS) ranks third with an RPE of $336K.

Homefed (NASDAQ:HOFD) follows with an RPE of $990K and Forestar Group (NYSE:FOR) rounds out the top five with an RPE of $1182K.

SmarTrend currently has shares of Forestar Group in an Uptrend and issued the Uptrend alert on September 02, 2010 at $15.71. The stock has risen 16.4% since the Uptrend alert was issued.

Write to Chip Brian at

SmarTrend is a registered trademark of Comtex News Network, Inc.

Investment Research –

ML&P nears deal to pay off $40 million debt


Maui Land & Pineapple Co. has completed definitive agreements with all holders of $40 million of its debt to repurchase the notes.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday, the company said it had reached agreement with the last remaining noteholders on July 22. It had earlier stated that four-fifths of the creditors had agreed to the deal.

As a result, debt-laden ML&P hopes to retire a large chunk of its obligations that otherwise would have required it to go to financial markets to refinance the $40 million as early as next year. Considering the company’s money-losing status, refinancing would have been difficult and expensive.

Inability to replace the debt with new debt or retire it could have triggered incidents of default with other corporate loans.

In May, the board of directors authorized an additional 20 million shares to be offered to the creditors.

New company to take over pineapple operations – The Maui News


New company to take over pineapple operations

Pineapple is BACK!
CLICK for larger image
POSTED: December 31, 2009

The newly formed Haliimaile Pineapple Co. Ltd. announced today it would immediately take over 1,000 acres and related facilities from Maui Pineapple Co., under an agreement signed Thursday with Maui Land & Pineapple Co.

The new company’s first day of work will be Saturday, when employees will start picking Maui Gold fruit, said Doug Schenk, one of the six local partners in the venture.

Maui Pine’s last harvest was Dec. 23. The company had announced it was leaving the business earlier this year after recording continuous, large losses.

The owners and directors of the new venture are Pardee Erdman, owner of Ulupalakua Ranch; Schenk, Doug MacCluer and Ed Chenchin, all retired Maui Pine managers; and two men who were operating directors of Maui Pine until it closed, Strand and Rudy Balala.

Haliimaile Pine has licensed and purchased assets notably the Maui Gold patented variety and leased land, equipment and buildings from Maui Pine.

Haliimaile Pine will do its own marketing, targeting local retailers, hotels and restaurants.

FINAL HARVEST: Sun sets on ML&P cultivation of pineapple – The Maui News

Deal in works for new, smaller company to farm golden fruit

By ILIMA LOOMIS, Staff Writer

POSTED: December 24, 2009


Fieldworkers picked their last pineapples Wednesday as Maui Pineapple Co. ceased operations after 100 years of farming.

About 285 Maui Pine workers are being laid off in the shutdown, with their last official day of employment Dec. 31. Another 133 employees were expected to be offered positions at Maui Land & Pineapple partner companies.

Some remained hopeful a startup company would take over Maui Pine land, equipment and operations to continue pineapple farming on Maui and hire back some of the laid-off workers.

This Week in Congress: The Season for Action – Blog – OpenCongress

Much of the Senate’s time this week will be taken up by amendment from Sen. John McCain [R, AZ] and his Republican colleagues to strike earmarks from the bill. Subscription-only CongressDaily has the scoop:

McCain is looking to block $195,000 for renovation of the Emmett Till Memorial Complex in Tallahatchie County, Miss., as well as $500,000 to construct a beach park promenade in Pascagoula, Miss., both requested by Appropriations ranking member Thad Cochran and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.
McCain also wants to strip $500,000 from the bill requested by Reid to provide a credit counseling service in Las Vegas.
The Arizonan has targeted transit projects, including $85 million requested by Sens. Jim Webb, D-Va., and Mark Warner, D-Va., to help fund an extension of Washington’s subway system to Washington Dulles International Airport.
McCain also wants to strike $30 million for the Honolulu High Capacity Transit Corridor Project, sought by Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye and Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, as well as $75 million for the Houston North Corridor Light Rail Transit requested by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.

This Week in Congress: The Season for Action – Blog – OpenCongress

Monsanto Plowed Down (MON)

It’s becoming increasingly harder to figure out whether Monsanto (NYSE: MON) is a bargain or a value trap. Yesterday, the agriculture giant announced less-than-stellar guidance for its 2010 fiscal year, which started at the beginning of the month.

It’s really a tale of two product lines for Monsanto. The seed and trait business is growing and competing well against — and sometimes withDuPont (NYSE: DD), Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW), and Syngenta (NYSE: SYT).

Its Roundup product, on the other hand, is headed in the wrong direction. Once a cash cow, Roundup now faces generic competition, and a glut of chemical herbicides in the supply chain is pushing down prices. Unlike drug companies such as Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and Merck (NYSE: MRK), which can pretty much kiss off most of their sales once generic competition starts, Monsanto does expect to bring in $650 million to $750 million in gross profits from Roundup in the coming year. Still that’s a long drop from the nearly $2 billion in gross profits that the herbicide brought in during fiscal 2008.

In a couple of years, it’s not going to matter much: By 2012, the company expects that seeds and licensed traits will make up 85% of the company’s total gross profit. But in the meantime, the drop is hurting the bottom line.

Earnings per share, after adding back restructuring charges, are expected to come in between $3.10 to $3.30, a sharp decline from the $4.40 or so that’s expected from the recently completed year. Trading at a forward price-to-earnings ratio of more than 24, Monsanto is a little cheaper than we’ve seen in the past, but it doesn’t leave investors much breathing room, if Roundup sales continue to fall faster than expected.

Monsanto Plowed Down (MON)


Here is Hawaii’s piece of the pie:

Wildland Fire Management – Forest Health (Multi-state)

  • Alaska; California; Oregon; Washington; Hawaii – 1 project – $1,795,000
  • California; Hawaii – 1 project – $2,190,000

Posted by Brian Allmer on September 9, 2009

78 projects in 20 States and the District of Columbia will receive a total of $89 million to address problems caused by fire, insects, invasive species and disease

WASHINGTON, September 9, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for forest health protection projects. These 78 projects will receive almost $89 million and are located on forested lands in 30 states. This funding will be used to restore forest health conditions on Federal, State, and private forest and rangelands recovering from fires, forest insects and disease outbreaks. These conditions weaken affected lands and threaten the benefits these lands provide, including clean water, clean air, habitat for wildlife, resistance to wildfire, and recreational opportunities for the public.