The Maui 10
Who's the county's most powerful player?
March 22, 2007
RANK PREVIOUS COMPANY
3 Maui Land & Pineapple Co.
Alexander & Baldwin
8 Tesoro Hawai`i
5 Goodfellow Brothers
6 Maui Electric Co.
Wailuku Water Co.
Is Maui Land & Pineapple Co. great or what? Last week ML&P
officials were a bunch of sad sacks, "exploring all options" and
"reorganizing" following earnings reports that the company's
agriculture division bled $9 million in the fourth quarter of 2006.
They canned—pun very much intended—Maui Pineapple Co. czar Brian
Nishida and moved some other people around, but company officials
darkly hinted that they may have to get out of the processed pineapple
business entirely. Then on Mar. 17 the Honolulu Advertiser reported
that the U.S. International Trade Commission had agreed to keep 25 to
51 percent tariffs on canned pineapple originating in Thailand. It's a
huge victory for ML&P, which will continue to enjoy significant
price advantages over Thai pineapple. Good thing for Maui Land &
Pineapple that all the Republicans who run the federal government don't
support free trade nearly as much as they say they do.
As I write these words on Mar. 16, with Wall Street closed for the
weekend, shares of Tesoro are going for an astounding $96.83—nearly 50
percent more than their price just three months ago. Much of the rise
is due to gas station acquisitions the company just announced it wants
to make on the West Coast, but corporate executives say they aren't
worried they'll be losing money anytime soon. "Cheap gas ain't gonna
happen," Tesoro CEO Bruce Smith said in a March 2 Bloomberg News story.
"I used to say it was going to be over in 2010-2012. I think it's going
to go on for a long time now." Given who sits in the White House and
rampant violence and instability that marks the Middle East these days,
I don't doubt that he's right. MTW
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