Business/In Brief • May 7, 2014

Matson’s profit falls in first quarter

HONOLULU – Shipping and logistics company Matson Inc. said Tuesday that it earned $3.4 million during the first quarter, far below its profit of $9.1 million a year earlier because of the timing of fuel surcharge collections.

Matson CEO Matt Cox said demand in Hawaii and elsewhere is staying strong even though the surcharges significantly hurt the company’s results for the quarter.

“Our businesses are running well and continue to generate substantial cash flow,” Cox said in a statement.

Revenue dropped less than 1 percent to $392.5 million.

The earnings amounted to 8 cents per share for the quarter that ended March 31, down from 21 cents per share during the same quarter a year ago.

The company also said it paid $1 million in legal expenses related to the spill of about 1,400 tons of molasses into Honolulu Harbor in September. The substance oozed from a pipe that was thought to be sealed off, killing about 26,000 fish and other marine life.

Matson said Tuesday that it doesn’t yet know how future costs related to the spill might affect the company in future quarters.

Shares of Matson dropped 85 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $23.71 on Tuesday before the results were released. They were unchanged in after-hours trading.


Oahu goes after illegal gambling

HONOLULU – Honolulu’s top prosecutor says Oahu won’t tolerate illegal gambling, and he will work with state officials and police to seize sweepstakes machines.

Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro said his investigation is continuing after a grand jury indictment of nine people on charges of gambling promotion, racketeering and other crimes, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported on Tuesday.

“We will remove the machines, and we will also forfeit property,” Kaneshiro said.

Keith Kiuchi, a lawyer for most of the people charged, said he plans to appeal a federal ruling used as the basis for the indictment.

Five people were arrested Thursday, including Tracy Yoshimura, the owner of PJY Enterprises, the company that distributed the machines in Hawaii.

Two others were arrested Monday, while two more were on the U.S. Mainland and expected to be arrested when they come back to Honolulu, Kaneshiro said.

U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi ruled last week that the Products Direct Sweepstakes machines were used in a way that constituted gambling.