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New Big 5 May Be Emerging in Hawaii

Speculation emerges about an alliance of Hawaiian values that could be formed by nonprofits and government agencies with land holdings

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Hawaii’s Biggest Companies Today

Drawing from the 2012 version of the Hawaii Business Top 250, which is based on 2011 revenue, here is a compilation of Hawaii’s current “Big Five” economic sectors, as represented by their biggest companies.

Energy: Hawaiian Electric Industries is the state’s largest company, with 2011 revenues of $3.24 billion, and Aloha Petroleum is No. 9 on the Top 250.

Healthcare: Four of Hawaii’s 10 biggest companies: 2, HMSA; 6, Kaiser; 7, Hawaii Pacific Health and 8, The Queen’s Health Systems.

Tourism: The largest companies within the state’s biggest industry are No. 4, Hawaiian Airlines; 13, Kyo-ya and 16, Outrigger.

Banking: 11, First Hawaiian Bank and 12, Bank of Hawaii.

Land: Alexander & Baldwin will no longer be No. 3 when the next Top 250 list is published, but it remains a large landowner. The biggest private landowner in the state is Kamehameha Schools, whose ranking at 25, based on annual revenue, belies its status as one of Hawaii’s most powerful organizations.

Other sectors and their biggest representatives on the Top 250: education, UH, No. 5; retail, Servco Pacific, 10; technology, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, 14, construction, Grace Pacific, 19.




Where Are the Big Five Today?

Alexander & Baldwin: The last of the original Big Five companies to continue cultivating sugar is also the only remaining one among the state’s five largest private landholders. A member of an oligarchy that was more commodity traders than true agribusinesses, A&B bought out Matson shares from fellow Big Five firms in 1960. (The shipping company was spun off last year.) It entered diversified agriculture in the 1980s and has expanded Hawaii residential and commercial projects on its 113,000 acres, including purchase of the 170,300-square-foot Waianae Mall in January.

Theo Davies: The first of the Big Five to get out of sugar, it owned Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar franchises in Hawaii. It was sold to Hong Kong-based conglomerate Jardine Matheson in 1973, and its Island holdings were sold off beginning in 2003.

Amfac: The first to earn $1 billion in revenue, Amfac invested in wholesale, retail, financial and resort interests across the country before being purchased by Chicago-based JMB Realty. Most of Amfac’s assets were sold or closed by 2001, leaving Kaanapali Land LLC with 5,000 acres after bankruptcy concluded in 2005.

C. Brewer: Oldest and smallest of the Big Five, it was under mainland ownership for nearly a decade before controlling interest returned to the Islands. Chairman J.W.A. “Doc” Buyers bought significant assets when the company was dissolved in 2006. Sale of Hawaii’s Own juice operation in 2008 left D. Byers Enterprises with real estate holdings.

Castle & Cooke: Twenty-one years after completing its takeover of James Dole’s Hawaiian Pineapple Co., Castle & Cooke Co. merged with California billionaire David Murdock’s Flexi-Van Corp. in 1985 and was renamed Dole Food Co. Real estate operations were spun off a decade later, and the sale of Lanai acreage last year leaves Castle & Cooke Hawaii with property in Central Oahu and Iwilei.

Hawaii Business magazine invites you to comment on our articles and the issues they raise. Comments are moderated for offensive language, commercial messages and off-topic posts and may be deleted. Some comments may be chosen for inclusion in the magazine on the Feedback page.

Apr 19, 2013 07:23 pm
 Posted by  Bill Brown

OHA should not be one of the BIG 5 for the state created that agency in 78' along with the DHHL in 63'. Those two agencies are the offshoot of the Hawaiian Home Commission Act - HHCA! That is the TRUST that should be mention, not these (OHA and DHHL) wanna bees.

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