U.S. Treasury Could Make Money off of Central Pacific Financial

The U.S. Treasury could finally see a profit on the $135 million given to Central Pacific Financial a little more than two years ago.

The Treasury gave Central Pacific, the owner of Hawaii’s fourth largest bank, a little more than two years ago under its Troubled Asset Relief Program. It received preferred shares in the bank, which had taken a financial hit for loans made to California home builders.

The investment was controversial given phone calls made by Sen. Daniel Inouye, a Central Pacific shareholder, to the U.S. Treasury inquiring whether the bank would receive the TARP funds. But now it appears the funding will pay off for the Treasury.

Under the bank’s recapitalization plan the Treasury is receiving 5.62 million Central Pacific shares. If the Treasury were to sell them off at Friday’s closing stock price of $28.33 it would receive about $159.2 million.

The Treasury would make an about $11 million profit if it had sold the shares today. That’s what’s left after subtracting the $135 million of funding and deferred dividends of $5.1 million that Central Pacific owed the Treasury.

Alaska Airlines to Expand Service from Bay Area

Alaska Airlines will be increasing the number of flights it has from two airports in the San Francisco Bay area to Maui in June.

The airline said it will provide daily service from both the Oakland and San Jose airports to Kahului starting June 5. The airline currently operates four weekly flights from Oakland to Maui and three weekly flights from San Jose.

With the increase to daily service, Alaska Airlines will offer 35 flights a week from the Bay Area and Sacramento, Calif., to Hawaii.
State Boosts Economic Growth Forecast for 2011

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism is increasing its economic growth projections for 2011.

The agency’s first quarter forecast projects there will be a 2.0 percent increase in the state’s gross domestic product this year when adjusted for inflation.

That compares to the 1.8 percent it had been forecasting for the year when it issued a projection during the fourth quarter.

The agency said it expects growth to rise another 2.1 percent in 2012.

DBEDT’s estimates are based on a continued economic recovery for the state as gains made in the visitor industry spread throughout the economy, including the construction business.

The forecast calls for visitor arrivals to rise 4.0 percent this year, with visitor spending growing by 9.2 percent. Wage and salary jobs are now expected to increase by 1.3 percent this year compared to the 1.1 percent in the prior forecast.

Personal income growth in current dollars and real dollars are expected to grow 3.2 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively, the same as the growth in the previous forecast. In 2012, current-dollar personal income is forecast to increase 4.0 percent, which will be 1.7 percent in real terms, 0.5 of a percentage point higher than that projected in the previous forecast.

Borders Beginning Store Closing Sales on Saturday

Borders’ locations in Lihue and Kailua-Kona will be among the 200 stores nationally where store closing sales begin on Saturday.

The bankrupt company said more than $350 million of inventory including books, magazines, music and movie media, calendars, posters and more will be liquidated. The company is closing two of its stores in Hawaii as part of its bankruptcy reorganization.

Discounts from 20% to 40% with limited exceptions are offered on all merchandise at every closing location.

The liquidation of inventory and store fixtures is being managed by a joint venture composed of Hilco Merchant Resources, LLC, Gordon Brothers Group, SB Capital Group, LLC, and Tiger Capital Group.

Walmart Foundation gives $402,000 in Grants to Nine

Nine Hawaii non profits received $402,000 from the Walmart Foundation through a series of grants in recent months.

“The Associate Choice and Hawaii State Giving Programs are ways to focus our contributions and make them count throughout the islands. We’re pleased that Walmart associates chose to support Hawaii’s public schools and the various other after-school activities, nutrition, job skills and hunger relief programs,” said Angela Stoner, senior manager for public affairs and government relations for Walmart.

The nonprofits receiving donations are:

  • The Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation – $100,00
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Honolulu – $49,000
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island – $60,000
  • Family Promise of Hawaii – $33,000
  • Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross – $50,000
  • Hawaiian Kamali‘i, Inc. – $25,000
  • Malama Learning Center – $35,000
  • Maui Economic Opportunity – $25,000
  • Surfrider Spirit Sessions – $25,000

East-West Center seminar to discuss Asian Economic Development

The East-West Center and the Thai National Institute of Development Administration will host a free public seminar on Feb. 23, titled “New Approaches to Asian Economic Cooperation and Development.”

The seminar will include presentations from noted scholars from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. The East-West Center said many of the issues discussed will be pertinent to the APEC economic summit to be held in Honolulu in November.

The seminar, which is open to the public free of charge, will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wed. Feb. 23 in Rm. 3015 of John A. Burns Hall, 1601 East-West Rd.

American Savings Bank Donates $220,725 to Hawaii Schools

American Savings Bank said it is awarding $220,725 to public and private schools across the state, including a $100,000 award to Waianae Intermediate, as part of its Bank for Education program that helps the community raise funds for Hawaii’s schools.
American Savings is contributing $25 to a customer’s Hawaii school of choice when opening a new qualified personal checking account or Equity Express home equity line of credit during the campaign period.
The bank said a total of 309 schools received cash awards
As the school receiving the highest number of designations, Waianae Intermediate School received $100,000, in addition to the award it received in customer designations.  Each of the following four county prize winners will receive a $10,000 award plus the amount from their customer designations.  •    City & County of Honolulu Prize – Anuenue School
•    Maui County Prize – Maui Adventist School
•    Kauai County Prize – Kapaa High School
•    Hawaii County Prize – Waiakea High School

Honolulu sets Feb. 22 Deadline for Real Property Tax Payments

The City and County of Honolulu said payments for the second installment of Honolulu real property taxes for the 2010-2011 tax year are due by Tues., Feb. 22.

The city said tax bills have been mailed to all property owners, or agents servicing their accounts.  Property owners who have not received a billing are advised to check immediately by calling (808) 768-3980, visiting www.honolulupropertytax.com, or going in person to the Real Property Collection Section, Division of Treasury, first floor of Honolulu Hale, 530 South King Street, Room 115, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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