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Business Briefs

Government sets up AIG divestment

NEW YORK » The government and AIG, the giant insurer rescued with $182 billion at the depths of the 2008 financial meltdown, announced a plan yesterday to end taxpayer involvement in the company over the next two years.

As part of the plan, AIG paid back its $21 billion outstanding balance to the New York branch of the Federal Reserve. The Treasury Department will now own a 92 percent stake in the company and begin unloading stock on the open market in March.

The rescue package for American International Group Inc., which included loans and guarantees, was the largest of any U.S. company that accepted government help during the September 2008 financial crisis.

Under the plan, the government will sell its stock over two years as market conditions allow.


JPMorgan announces dividend boost

NEW YORK » JPMorgan Chase & Co. pleased investors yesterday with news that it will raise its dividend soon, pending approval from the Federal Reserve. The bank also reported that its income jumped 47 percent in the final three months of 2010 as fewer customers defaulted on their loans.

The Fed has asked all of the top U.S. banks to send detailed reports on their finances as part of the central bank’s annual assessment of their health. The Fed is expected to complete its study of those plans by March, at which time it could give permission to some banks to raise their dividends.

Most U.S. banks slashed their dividends during the financial crisis in order to conserve cash. After almost two years of solid profits and building up capital, banks like JPMorgan are ready to resume paying the larger dividends that investors are accustomed to. JPMorgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon has suggested that the bank could raise its annual dividend to as much as $1 per share from 20 cents if the Fed allows.


GM infuses pension plans with stock

DETROIT » General Motors Co. has pumped another $2 billion into its underfunded U.S. pension plans by giving them 60.6 million shares of common stock.

The contribution comes on top of $4 billion in cash that the Detroit company paid into the plans in December.

The moves cut $6 billion off a $27.4 billion pension liability that was on the company’s books. As of Dec. 31, 2009, the U.S. salaried and hourly plans were $17.1 billion short of their obligations, while GM’s non-U.S. pension plans were $10.3 billion short. The plans will be re-valued as of the end of 2010, and the shortfalls should be far lower due to the contributions and investment growth in the past year.


On the Move

» The University of Hawaii Foundation has announced Greg Willems as vice president of development. He has extensive development and management experience and has held executive fundraising positions at premier public universities, including as executive director of development at University of British Columbia.

» Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties has announced Nelsson Becerra as a Realtor associate specializing in high-end condominiums and homes. He was previously a Realtor associate at Mary Worrall Associates Sotheby’s International Realty.

» Starwood Hotels & Resorts Hawaii has appointed the following:

Chip Bahouth to general manager of Sheraton Kauai Resort.
Tetsuji Yamazaki to general manager of Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa.
R. George Reed to general manager of Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa.

» Graham Builders has announced that design department manager Keith Kilburn has earned his Certified Green Professional designation. Kilburn accepts the responsibilities and obligations of providing quality green building services according to the National Association of Home Builders’ Code of Ethics.


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