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Business briefs

For Wednesday, August 11, 2010

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services


Productivity falls 0.9%

WASHINGTON » Worker productivity dropped this spring for the first time in more than a year, a sign that companies might need to step up hiring if they hope to grow. Productivity fell at an annual rate of 0.9 percent in the second quarter, the Labor Department said yesterday. Output of U.S. workers is the key ingredient to boosting living standards. It allows companies to pay workers more because of increased production without being forced to raise the cost of goods, which sparks inflation.

Hawaiian punctuality hits 93.6%

Hawaiian Airlines topped U.S. carriers again in punctuality with 93.6 percent of its flights in June arriving on time. The on-time performance topped the national average by 17.2 percentage points.

The carrier also ranked second in the month for the lowest rate of flight cancellations at 0.1 percent, representing seven cancellations out of 5,864 total flights, and was second for fewest misplaced bags at 1.83 mishandled baggage reports for every 1,000 passengers.

In addition, Hawaiian ranked second in the quarter for fewest oversales, or passengers denied boarding, at 0.03 percent for every 10,000 passengers.

34 Syngenta workers to be laid off

A group of 34 seasonal contract employees who work in the fields at Syngenta's Kunia seed farm will be laid off tomorrow, the company said.

The workers will join 49 other Syngenta "field technicians" who were laid off on July 9. The workers were employed by Akamai Employment Services, which provided them to Syngenta on a contract basis. Some of the workers might be rehired in October when Syngenta's planting season begins, a company spokesman said.

Syngenta farms corn and soybean as seed crops on more than 1,000 acres in Central Oahu.

Netflix to add films for streaming

LOS ANGELES » Netflix Inc. will pay nearly $1 billion during the next five years for the online streaming rights to movies from Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM in a deal that could help convert even more people to the idea of getting their entertainment piped over high-speed Internet connections.

The agreement announced yesterday marks another breakthrough in Netflix's bid to stock its online streaming library with more compelling material, so it can keep its subscription service relevant as on-demand video systems supplant its core business of renting DVDs through the mail. The online streaming push also helps the company reduce its postage bill for mailing DVDs.

Disney net up on ESPN, studio gains

LOS ANGELES » The Walt Disney Co. said net income for the latest quarter jumped 40 percent from a year ago thanks to a huge boost from ESPN and a turnaround at its movie studio because of "Toy Story 3."

Disney said yesterday that fiscal third-quarter net income was $1.33 billion, or 67 cents a share. That's up from $954 million, or 51 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 16 percent to $10 billion, from $8.6 billion.

Much of the 50 percent profit gain at its cable channels came from recognizing deferred revenue at ESPN earlier than expected. Advertising rates and the volume of sales at ESPN also increased.

Feds find no new Toyota issues

WASHINGTON » A government investigation into runaway Toyotas has found no new safety defects beyond problems with accelerator pedals that explain reports of sudden acceleration in the vehicles, according to preliminary findings released yesterday.

Safety experts have said vehicle electronic systems could be to blame for the problems that have led to Toyota's massive recalls, but the review by the government, while still at an early stage, has not found any evidence of those issues.

Toyota, the world's largest automaker, has recalled about 9.5 million cars and trucks since October in a quality crisis that has threatened to undermine the Japanese automaker's reputation for building safe vehicles.

On the Move

Tiare Noelani Cowan has been promoted to president of Archipelago Hawaii from vice president. She was previously owner of TCB Island Interiors as well as co-owner of Studio Becker Honolulu.


The Hawaii Tourism Authority awarded its 2010 Tourism Legacy Awards yesterday to Bishop Museum and posthumously to George Kanahele. The awards honor individuals, organizations and business that have perpetuated Hawaiian culture and have had a positive effect on Hawaii tourism: Bishop Museum, which serves and represents the interests of native Hawaiians, is recognized throughout the world for its cultural collections, research projects, consulting services and public educational programs, and also has one of the largest native history specimen collections in the world. Kanahele was an author and educator in Hawaiian culture and history, a respected civic leader, one of the first native Hawaiians to earn a Ph.D. and an industry consultant on values-based management until he died in 2000.


Mitch Kysar Construction has hired Earl Miyahira as senior project manager for the renovation of guest rooms at Doubletree Alana Waikiki. He was previously a senior project manager for Maryl Pacific Construction and Dick Pacific Construction.


Incentive magazine has awarded the 2010 Platinum Partner Award to the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau. This is the sixth year that HVCB has received the award.

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