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Business briefs

For Tuesday, June 14, 2011

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services


It's electric!

Residential electricity rates rose in June on Oahu and Maui but fell on Hawaii island and Kauai.

Hawaiian Electric Co. said a typical 600-kilowatt-hour bill for Oahu residential customers rose to $195.50 in June from $188.88 in May. The effective rate for electricity in Honolulu is 31.2 cents per kilowatt-hour in June, up from the 30.1 cents last month.

Elsewhere in the state:

>> Maui Electric Co. customers saw rates rise to 37.6 cents per kilowatt-hour this month from May's 35.9 cents. The typical Maui bill rose by $10.22 to $233.43.

>> Hawaii island residential rates fell to 41.8 cents a kilowatt-hour from last month's 42.4 cents. The typical bill fell by $3.92 to $262.04.

>> On Kauai, the rate fell to 44.05 cents per kilowatt-hour. Last month the rate charged by the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative was 44.27 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Hawaii typically has the highest cost for electricity in the nation. The national average was 11.64 cents per kilowatt-hour in March, the most recent numbers available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Economists lower recovery theories

WASHINGTON » The best cure for the economy now is time. That's the overwhelming opinion of 38 leading economists in an survey. They say the Federal Reserve shouldn't bother trying to stimulate the economy and could do damage if it did.

The economists are lowering their forecasts for job creation and economic growth for the rest of this year, mainly because of high oil prices. A batch of bleak data in the past month has suggested that the 2-year-old economic recovery is slowing.

The economists now expect the nation to create 1.9 million jobs this year, about 200,000 fewer than when they were last surveyed eight weeks ago. They expect the unemployment rate, now 9.1 percent, to be 8.7 percent at year's end. Before, they expected 8.4 percent.

Despite their gloomier outlook, 36 of the 38 economists surveyed oppose any further efforts by the Fed to invigorate growth.

Investors pulled from market in May

BOSTON » Investors appeared to follow the adage "Sell in May" last month, interrupting their recent return to the stock market.

They withdrew $2.7 billion more than they deposited into stock mutual funds in May, snapping a four-month string of net deposits that began in January, Strategic Insight said Monday.

Bond funds and funds buying foreign stocks attracted net deposits as investors became less confident about the U.S. stock market amid signs the economic recovery is weakening, the New York-based fund industry consultant said.

Yet investors have put a net $39 billion into U.S. stock funds during the first five months of 2011. That marks a shift in sentiment after investors began withdrawing more than they deposited each month after the stock market meltdown in 2008, while bond funds attracted net deposits. That trend held up long after stock prices began to recover in March 2009.

VF Corp. adds Timberland to roster

NEW YORK » Clothing and footwear maker VF Corp., whose brands include Wrangler, Nautica and The North Face, said Monday it will buy boot and clothing maker Timberland Co. for more than $2.2 billion as it seeks to expand its outdoor offerings.

VF plans to make Timberland part of its outdoor and actions sports business. It said Timberland's headquarters will remain in Stratham, N.H. With the addition of Timberland, VF's outdoor and action sports business, which also includes Vans, Jansport, Eastpak and other brands, will make up 50 percent of the company's total revenue. They expect that to grow to 60 percent by 2015.

VF is offering $43 for each Timberland share, a premium of 43.4 percent to Timberland's closing price last week.

Wendy's to shed struggling Arby's

NEW YORK » The marriage of square burgers and roast beef sandwiches is about to end.

Wendy's/Arby's Group Inc. said Monday that it will sell a majority stake in its struggling Arby's brand to Roark Capital Group, the Atlanta private equity firm. The move marks the end of a short-lived union between the two fast-food chains and represents a role reversal. Arby's started as the suitor in the relationship and ended up on the chopping block.

In an interview with The , Wendy's/Arby's Group CEO Roland Smith said that the 2008 combination of the two fast-food chains had "absolutely not" been a failure.

Wendy's/Arby's shares ended trading Monday up 4 cents at $4.56 as investors signaled modest pleasure with having more clarity about the company's future. But the shares remain well below $5.90, their price on the day the combination was announced in September 2008.

On the Move

RevoluSun has announced Lorry O’Loughlin as a Hawaii-based construction administration manager. She has nine years’ experience in finance and operations, including as controller and operations manager for Aloha Business Centers and statistical accountant and business analyst for First Insurance Co.


Suzanne Peterson has retired from the Ho‘ala School Board of Directors. She has been a member of the board for eight years and a supporter of Ho‘ala School for more than 20 years.  


Kaiser Permanente Hawaii has named the following leaders to sales and account services: 
>> Sandra Benevides has been with Kaiser for 20 years working in various positions.
>> Rey Rubianes has worked for Kaiser for a number of years and has experience in health care underwriting and corporate banking.
>> Clint Wadsworth has 10 years of benefit and health plan experience, including as partner in the benefits firm Human Capital.
>> Josiah Sutton as supervisor of neighbor Island sales and account services. He has been with Kaiser for two years.


The Aloha Initiative organizers announced they received more than $35,000 from last month’s “Wear Jeans for Japan” fundraiser. Out of the total funds received, Mana Foods donated $20,000 to the organization. The funds will be used to pay for ground and air transportation to and from Hawaii for Japanese citizens displaced by the March earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis. Those selected will be flown to Hawaii and spend up to 90 days with host families.

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