Hawai‘i’s Most Profitable Companies 2022

Fueled by its China service, Matson tops the list that shows how 70 companies and nonprofits fared in 2021, a year of recovery.
09 22 Most Profitable Companies Matson Dock
Photo: Jeff Hawe

Hawaii Business Magazine’s list of Hawai‘i’s Most Profitable Companies follows up on our annual Top 250 ranking, which reports gross sales or gross revenue from the state’s biggest companies.

The latest Top 250 list, published in August, tracks organizations and industries in the rebound year of 2021. Tourism and airlines made significant gains, while real estate and shipping exceeded revenue figures from the boom times of 2019.

Click here to jump to the 2022 Most Profitable list!

This Most Profitable list gives a fuller financial picture of 70 of those Top 250 companies, both for-profits and nonprofits. The profit/surplus and loss/deficit figures listed are mostly self-reported; annual reports and other public data were consulted for companies marked with an asterisk.

Matson topped the list this year by a long shot, reflecting the explosive growth in international shipping and soaring freight rates across the industry.

The company’s $3.925 billion in gross revenue and more than $927 million in profit were largely the result of adding two weekly services between China and the U.S. West Coast to its existing line, and capturing more of the lucrative pandemic- era market.

Matt Cox, Matson’s chair and CEO, says he expects the company to drop one of its three China-to-California services once demand for goods normalizes and freight rates fall. But he anticipates strong revenues and profits to continue, if at less elevated levels.

“We were doing just fine before this super cycle, paying off debt and doing vessel construction projects and giving high dividends to shareholders,” says Cox.


HMSA Leads Nonprofits

HMSA, the No. 1 company on the Top 250 list yet again, continues to dominate the local health care sector. With 765,000 members, the insurance company reported nearly $4.3 billion in gross revenue in 2021 – up 5.4% from the previous year.

But unlike 2020, when HMSA reported a more than $31 million deficit, in 2021 the organization collected nearly $49 million more in revenue than expenses. Financial sheets from the two years show that administrative expenses and taxes were lower in 2021 compared to the previous year, thus creating the surplus.

Click here to jump to the 2022 Most Profitable list!

Hawai‘i nonprofits are a lifeline for people in tumultuous times, as they were in 2020. As private and public money poured into their offices for distribution to the community, many nonprofits reported high revenue but small end-of-the-year surpluses or even actual deficits.

But in 2021 many of those organizations boasted stronger end-of-year balance sheets, with much healthier financial cushions, including Child & Family Service, YMCA of Honolulu, Catholic Charities Hawai‘i and Easterseals Hawaii.



Tiny profits aren’t always a sign of weakness, though, even in the private sector. In 2021, T&T Tinting Specialists reported just $655 in profit, in contrast to the previous year’s more than $143,000.

Founder Tommy Silva says the company became an employee-owned S corporation at the start of October 2021 and the smaller figure reflects “all of the adjustments and ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) setup costs, along with payroll and bonuses paid out.”

With the new structure, T&T Tinting’s 32 employees share the rewards of their work and boost their retirement funding, while the company is exempted from paying business taxes.

“It’s a great way to transition a business from an owner to the loyal staff that helped create the business, kept it alive during the hard times and kept it growing in the good times,” says Silva.

He expects innovation and productivity to take off as employees experience a “shift in realization that everything they do now, each day going forward, is for them, not for the boss or the one owner.”

Click here to jump to the 2022 Most Profitable list!

Read more about T&T Tinting and other local employee-owned companies.


Hawaiian Telcom & Hawaiian Airlines

Two giants in the Islands, Hawaiian Telcom and Hawaiian Airlines, enjoyed huge gains in revenue during 2021 but also sustained losses.

Hawaiian Telcom reported a more than 400% jump in gross revenue in 2021, to almost $1.7 billion – the result of a merger with Macquarie Infrastructure Partners V. Despite the revenue jump, the company reported a loss of $108.5 million.

Suzanne Maratta, VP and corporate controller at Hawaiian Telcom’s parent company, Cincinnati Bell, explained that Hawaiian Telcom had “additional depreciation and amortization expenses in 2021 related to the increased value of property, plant and equipment, and intangibles as a result of recording amounts at fair value as of the merger date.”

Hawaiian Airlines made serious strides in 2021 – up 89% in gross revenue from 2020 – but continued to post losses. In 2021, the airline ended with a nearly $145 million loss, which is still significantly better than the nearly $511 million loss in 2020.

Once Japan eases travel restrictions, Hawaiian Airlines is expected to recover to earlier levels, although high fuel prices could take a bite out of profits.

Most Profitable List 2022


Categories: Business & Industry, Finance, Lists & Awards, Top 250