Hawaii’s Top 250 2016

A Guide to Hawaii’s Biggest Companies and Nonprofits

September, 2016

A NEW No. 1

HMSA is back on top and will likely hold first place for the foreseeable future.

08-16-HB-Top-250_GRAPHICS1Hawaii Medical Service Association has dethroned Hawaiian Electric Industries as No. 1 on the Top 250.

HMSA had been No. 1 once before – based on its 2009 gross sales – but HEI had been at the top in every year since. HMSA regained the lead with $2.97 billion in gross sales last year, an increase of $95.13 million from 2014. The boost in revenue stems largely from new members that HMSA gained through implementation of the Affordable Care Act, says Michael Gold, president and CEO.

“There were more people who were able to receive coverage,” he says. “It was a positive move.”

HEI, which had been at the helm of the list for five consecutive years, slipped to No. 2 after generating $2.6 billion in gross sales in 2015 – $636.56 million less than the previous year. An HEI spokesman attributes the reduction to lower fuel prices and lower power-purchase costs. Its main subsidiaries are the electric utilities on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island, plus American Savings Bank.

Silver Linings

Despite lower gross sales, there were bright spots for HEI, including:

• Net profit of $159.88 million, good enough for No. 4 on HB’s list of most profitable companies in the state.

• Its American Savings Bank subsidiary generated net income of $54.7 million in 2015, an increase of $3.4 million over the previous year.

• A record 23 percent of electricity used by its customers was derived from renewable sources in 2015. The state leads the nation in integrating customers’ solar systems into the grid and about 13 percent of HEI’s customers have solar panels.

But all those panels cut into HEI’s revenue, which will help make it hard for the company to regain the No. 1 spot unless oil prices soar.

Will HMSA Stay No. 1?

HMSA faces external pressures, including significant administrative expenses stemming from the Affordable Care Act and rising operational costs, Gold says. Though its gross sales rose in 2015, HMSA posted an operating loss of $26.8 million. Overall, the company generated a net profit of $7.6 million, due to strong investments.

Gold does not predict a significant influx of new members this year. “We anticipate that revenue growth won’t be as dramatic next year,” he says.

But some growth seems inevitable, because the state’s Insurance Division granted HMSA permission to raise rates for individuals by 27 percent in 2016, with smaller increases approved for small groups. That increased revenue will likely keep HMSA as No. 1 on the Top 250 for at least the next few years.

In fact, the next big change at the top of the Top 250 may be if Hawaiian Holdings, the parent of Hawaiian Airlines, keeps growing and takes over the No. 2 spot from HEI. But HEI is currently ahead by almost $300 million a year in gross sales, so if Hawaiian Holdings does take over second place, it is unlikely to happen for at least several years.

Foresight Pays Off

Six years ago, when most businesses were retrenching in the aftermath of the Great Recession, Hawaiian Airlines took an unusual step. “We set off on an ambitious expansion strategy,” says CEO Mark Dunkerley.

Hawaiian began investing billions on long-range airplanes to service new routes in potentially high-growth markets such as China, Korea, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

“That boldness is now paying off,” Dunkerley says. Hawaiian Holdings raked in $182.65 million in net revenue – a $113.72 million boost from 2014. The company ranks No. 3 on HB’s Top 250 list, reporting gross sales of $2.317 billion.

In addition to modernizing its fleet, Hawaiian says, it made additional investments in quality to differentiate itself from competitors, such as providing free hot meals.

Dunkerley says corporate strategy was not the only factor driving the spike in net revenue; the other was the collapse of global oil prices.

He says the company is poised for further growth, but acknowledges that it’s impossible to predict the future of variables, such as the demand for Hawaii as a premier vacation destination and the price of oil.

What does the company intend to do with its profits? Invest them back into the company, he says. “Historically, it is what the company has always done, whether it is buying new airplanes or investing in personnel.”

Good news for Hawaii: Hawaiian says the average salary for its approximately 6,000-strong workforce is $77,000 and 90 percent of those workers are based in the Islands.

Par, a New Powerhouse

This year, par hawaii inc. made one of the most impressive debuts in the 32-year history of Top 250: Starting at No. 5, with gross sales of $1.7 billion in 2015.


Jim Yates, left, is president of Par Hawaii, and Thomas Weber is president of Par Hawaii Refining.

This local powerhouse formed when its parent, Houston-based Par Pacific Holdings, acquired Mid Pac Petroleum from KoKooha Investments Inc. in 2014. Its total assets include:

• One of the biggest fuel distribution networks in the state, with 128 gasoline stations that include the Tesoro and 76 brands, many of which will be rebranded as Hele.

• 27 miles of pipeline that provide products to Honolulu International Airport and military installations.

• Par Hawaii Refining, formerly known as Hawaii Independent Energy, which operates the largest petroleum refinery in the state. It’s Kapolei facility can process up to 94,000 barrels per day.

• Par Hawaii’s workforce of about 720 includes some 660 employees based in Hawaii.

“Essentially Hawaii is the parent company’s primary business, at least for now,” says Jim Yates, president of marketing and logistics.

The company says that being deeply entrenched in Hawaii means being in tune with the state’s aggressive 2045 goal of deriving 100 percent of electricity from renewable energy. “Ultimately, we want to help Hawaii achieve its renewable energy goals,” Yates says. “But, for now, we are the fuel to get the state to where it wants to get.”

Par Hawaii says one way to thrive in this changing environment is with its fuel-agnostic distribution network. It became the first petroleum retailer on Oahu to offer biodiesel fuel and is also the principal distributor for Big Island Biodiesel, a company that converts cooking oil into car fuel.

In the near term, the company’s primary goal is to optimize existing operations, which includes importing the right mix of crudes so it can offer a wide range of products to customers, says Par Hawaii Refining president Thomas Weber. In any given year, the company buys 15 to 20 types of crude oil.

The existing product portfolio consists of 50 percent jet and diesel fuel, 25 percent gasoline, and 25 percent heavy fuel oil, which is sold to the utilities, according to Weber. Given Hawaii’s plan to reduce oil-generated electricity, Par is already reducing its exposure to utilities.

Par does not drill for oil, so it buys in global markets: about 50 percent of its crude comes from Alaska, with the rest from Russia, South America and elsewhere. The process of unloading the product, refining it and distributing it can take about three months.

Two Big Shippers

Consolidation in Hawaii’s shipping industry can be seen in the Top 250. The sale of Horizon Lines reduced the state’s major shipping players from three to two: Matson and The Pasha Group. Each acquired a strategic chunk of Horizon and each substantially increased gross sales.

Matson bought Horizon’s Alaskan operations for $469 million, bolstering the company global’s footprint and giving it access to the strategic routes from Tacoma, Washington, to Anchorage and Kodiak. The company’s net profit increased by $32 million, which placed it No. 5 on Hawaii Business’ list of Hawaii’s Most Profitable Companies. Matson’s gross sales jumped $170.7 million to $1.885 billion in 2015, keeping it in fourth place on the Top 250.

Matson says it continues to shore up its global presence this year. This August, the company launched its South Pacific Express services, which, for the first time, will link its traditional West Coast-to-Hawaii services with its South Pacific network. In addition, it plans to expand its less-than-container-load capabilities by offering direct transit from China to New York and New Jersey.

It’s also been full steam ahead for Pasha, which acquired Horizon’s Hawaii operations for $141.5 million, essentially doubling the size of the company, says George Pasha IV, president and CEO.

Pasha recorded $262.65 million in gross sales – a $179.85 million boost from 2014 – leapfrogging 71 slots to rank No. 31 on the Top 250. That was the second-largest rise in gross sales this year on the Top 250.

The acquisition enabled Pasha to more than double the frequency of sailings and gave it a new presence in Los Angeles and Oakland.

For the time being, the company does not anticipate additional acquisitions. “We will remain focused on how to improve our current service level and hitting the community’s sweet spot from a service delivery and cost point of view,” Pasha says.

A Solar Flare

Hawaii’s solar energy industry is making a strong comeback on the Top 250:

• No. 124 RevoluSun Smart Home reported gross sales of $56 million in 2015, making it the highest ranking solar company on the list.
• No. 148 Haleakala Solar Inc. reported gross sales of $42 million in 2015, up 18 percent over 2014.
• No. 174 Alternate Energy Inc. rose 30 percent to $30 million.
• No. 188 Hawaii Energy Connection increased 4.7 percent to $26.8 million.
• No. 238 Bonterra Solar, up 145 percent to $15.3 million.

Despite the improvement, the companies’ numbers are generally down from the solar industry boom that ended in September 2013, when Hawaiian Electric Co. began requiring consumers and contractors to get special approval before connecting their rooftop solar systems to the grid. That decision, coupled with uncertainty about tax credits, slowed PV installations. But the industry is slowly getting back on its feet after the Public Utilities Commission directed HECO last year to clear the backlog of pending applications for PV installations.

“Things are much better,” says Colin Yost, COO of RevoluSun. “We are very busy, but we haven’t made a full recovery by far.”



Since the turn of this century, only three companies have been No. 1 on the Top 250: HEI, HMSA and First Hawaiian Bank.

First Hawaiian Bank was head of the class based on results from 2001 to 2005. In 2006, Hawaii Business changed the Top 250 rules by requiring international conglomerates based outside Hawaii to report only gross sales derived locally. FHB had been including gross sales from its sister bank on the Mainland, Bank of the West. Both are subsidiaries of BNP Paribas, headquartered in Paris, though FHB is currently planning to become an independent bank again with an initial public offering of stock.

When Hawaii Business changed the Top 250 rules governing outside-based global corporations, HEI took over No. 1 with its 2006 results and held the spot through every year except 2009 and now with 2015’s results. In fact, under the current rules, HEI would have been No. 1 during the years when FHB was ranked No. 1; HEI took over as No. 1 from Dole Food Co. based on its 1997 financial results, which means it was de facto No. 1 for 17 of the past 19 years.



The biggest gain on this year’s Top 250 was by Nordic PCLConstruction, whose gross sales rose by $237 million to $433 million in 2015. That was enough to push it from 44th on the list last year to 21st this year.

Hawaii’s Most Profitable Companies

Ranking the Top 250 Companies by Profits and Losses

Hawaii Business asks companies for their profit and loss numbers when it collects data for the Top 250. However, not all companies supply that information; this list contains those numbers that were provided to us. For some other companies, Hawaii Business was able to collect profit and loss numbers from public records. Here is our annual compilation of Hawaii’s Most Profitable Companies:







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