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Business Briefs

For Saturday, December 22, 2012

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services


Twinkies likely to get new owner

NEW YORK >> Twinkies, Wonder Bread and Devil Dogs are likely to return to shelves in coming months, but probably not under the same owners.

Hostess Brands Inc. said in bankruptcy court Friday that it’s narrowing down the bids it received for its brands and expects to sell off its snack cakes and bread to separate buyers.

A likely suitor has emerged for the namesake Hostess brand, which includes Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, along with Dolly Madison cakes, which includes Coffee Cakes and Zingers, said Joshua Scherer of Perella Weinberg Partners.

Isle customers due refunds from debt firm

Hawaii customers of a Florida company are entitled to refunds of fees they paid to settle payday loans as part of a court settlement announced Friday by the state Office of Consumer Protection.

Hawaii joined four other states in the refund award of up to $100,000 obtained from Doral, Fla.-based Payday Loan Debt Solutions Inc. with help of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Bruce Kim, executive director of Hawaii's Office of Consumer Protection, said state law bars for-profit companies like the Florida firm from providing debt adjustment or settlement services. Such services are restricted to nonprofit credit-counseling companies or locally licensed attorneys.

Kim's office said the Florida company contacted Hawaii residents through the Internet offering to reduce or eliminate payday loans, and charged upfront fees for the work.

The refunds were ordered by a federal judge in Miami, and are being shared by consumers in New Mexico, North Caro­lina, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

Hawaii residents who paid upfront fees to the Florida company are advised to contact the company and request a refund.

Consumers, companies increase activity

WASHINGTON » Fresh signs of a strengthening U.S. economy on Friday suggested that if Congress and the White House can avert the "fiscal cliff," the economic recovery might finally accelerate in 2013.

Consumers spent and earned more in November. And for a second straight month, U.S. companies increased their orders for a category of manufactured goods that reflects investment plans.

In light of the latest figures, some analysts said the economy could end up growing faster in the current October-December quarter — and next year — than they previously thought.

GE to buy aviation business for $4.3 billion

FAIRFIELD, Conn. » Industrial conglomerate General Electric plans to buy the aviation business of Italian manufacturer Avio for $4.3 billion to grow its jet propulsion business and strengthen its supply chain.

The Fairfield, Conn., company said Friday that it wants to build its supply chain as it ramps up engine production. The deal also gives GE a chance to offer Avio products outside the aviation industry, in power generation, oil and marine products.

GE will buy Avio SpA's aviation business from European private equity firm Cinven and the Italian aerospace group Finmeccanica.

Walgreen sees 26% drop in earnings

Walgreen's fiscal first-quarter earnings sank nearly 26 percent as costs tied to a couple of big deals and superstorm Sandy helped put a bigger-than-expected dent in the drugstore chain's performance.

CEO Greg Wasson told analysts he saw the quarter as a "turning point" for the Deerfield, Ill., company, which has been working to recapture customers it lost during a contract dispute with Express Scripts Holding Co. But investors didn't buy that message, at least initially, as the stock fell deeper than broader market declines in Friday trading.

Walgreen Co. spent $4 billion in cash earlier this year to buy a stake in Alliance Boots, a Swiss company that runs the largest drugstore chain in the United Kingdom.

It also spent $438 million on a drugstore chain focused on the mid-South under the USA Drug, Super D Drug and Med-X names.

Murdoch news unit posts $2 billion loss

LOS ANGELES » Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. said Friday that the news and publishing unit it plans to spin off next year posted a $2 billion net loss in the fiscal year through June, mainly due to one-time charges and restructuring costs in its newspaper division.

The details of the split were revealed Friday in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission. It confirmed investors' suspicions that the spun-off company — to be known as News Corp. — will be smaller and less profitable than the TV and movie business that will form Fox Group Inc.

The "new" News Corp. posted $8.7 billion in revenue last fiscal year, about a quarter of the company's total. Charges amounted to $2.8 billion, mainly due to declines in the value of newspapers and a drop in advertising at its in-store flier business. The charges included restructuring costs of $156 million, most of which came from shutting down The News of the World, the tabloid at the heart of a phone hacking scandal in Britain.

The filing of the plan "is another important step forward in the evolution of our company and in the establishment of two independent global leaders," Murdoch said in a statement.


Hawaii National Bank has promoted Amy Tsu­chiya to loan officer at the bank's Hilo Branch. She has more than 20 years of banking experience.


Kahala Nui has hired Kevin Valera as part of the management team as housekeeping supervisor. Valera also has more than 10 years of hotel management experience, including working at Disney's Grand Floridian Beach and Resort, Kahala Hotel & Resort, Ihilani Resort and Spa, and Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.


Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties has hired the following to its Kapolei office: 

» Chari Badua-Robinson has 12 years of land survey experience as well as 10 years of serving as a real estate agent and investor in California.

» Florence Calica experience includes a mortgage loan officer before earning her real estate license in 2005.

» Nohelani Maikai was a student at the University of Hawaii studying nursing, psychology and education.

» Munro Murdock has experience working in real estate, entrepreneurship and sales and marketing.

» Derrick Sarmiento has more than 24 years experience in the customer service industry.

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