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Hawaii News

HEI engages advisory firm in wake of suits

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Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. said it is seeking advice from various experts, including Guggenheim Securities, as it takes steps to determine the fallout from the deadly wildfires on Maui.

“We are seeking advice from various experts as we position HEI and Hawaiian Electric to be the strong, financially healthy local utility that the people of Maui and Hawai‘i need over the long term,” the company said a statement. “One of those experts is Guggenheim Securities, and their deep experience working with other utilities will be invaluable as we move forward.”

A representative for Guggenheim declined to comment. Reorg earlier reported on the mandate.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed alleging that the utility’s power lines ignited the fires that destroyed much of Lahaina earlier this month. The potential liabilities could reach almost $4 billion if the utility is deemed negligent, according to investment research firm Capstone LLC.

Hawaiian Electric Industries owns Hawaii’s main utility, which provides power to 95% of the state’s population. It also owns the regional American Savings Bank.

The company has been cut to junk by all three major credit ratings firms, with Fitch Ratings estimating that potential liabilities could top $3.8 billion, “representing an existential threat to the company.”

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