Hawai‘i’s Top 250 Companies 2023

The 40th annual ranking of the state’s largest companies and nonprofits shows revenue gains in nearly every sector of the economy in 2022, especially energy and tourism.
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The signature August issue featuring the Top 250 companies in Hawaiʻi is available for print purchase. Click here!

The 40th annual Top 250 list reflects Hawai‘i’s steady economic recovery in 2022. Unemployment fell to 3.5% from 6% the year before. Real GDP was up 2.5% in 2022, with nearly every major sector seeing gains, according to the UH Economic Research Organization’s dashboard.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism pointed to the “declining inflation rate, continued recovery in tourism, catching up of construction activities and continued double-digit growth of tax revenue collection” as key areas of improvement last year.

Among the Top 250 companies, 2022 results were especially strong. Average year-over-year gross revenue was 18% higher than in 2021. All sectors on the list, except technology, reported a jump in average revenue, from a small uptick in the construction industry to a more than doubling of revenue among tourism companies.

Top-line performance, of course, doesn’t reflect the costs and pressures companies may face, and higher revenue can be coupled with negative profits. But in terms of business activity and influence, the Top 250 list gives a broad picture of what’s happening in Hawai‘i’s largest, most prominent companies and nonprofits.

Each spring, Hawaii Business Magazine surveys companies, then ranks them by their reported gross revenue in the previous year. We supplement the surveys with data drawn from public sources, such as annual reports and government databases.


Year Over Year Revenue Gains by Sector

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Top 250 Facts
  • 19 employed 1,000 people or more
  • 16 were founded in the 1800s
  • 32 are located on Neighbor Islands

08 23 Hb Cover Top 250The signature August issue featuring the Top 250 companies in Hawaiʻi is available for print purchase. Click here!


Energy Soars, with Par Hawaii on Top

Par Hawaii‘s Kapolei refinery has been processing crude oil purchased from around the world into fuel for cars, airplanes and Hawaiian Electric Co.’s energy generation for 51 years and is now the state’s only oil refinery.

Last year, Par Hawaii posted $4.4 billion in gross revenue – a figure that pushed the company into the first place spot on the Top 250 list.

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Par Hawaii operates the state’s only oil refinery, located in Kapolei. | Photo: Aaron Yoshino

The 60% rise in revenue over the previous year is a direct result of the global spike in crude oil prices, says President Eric Wright. Price increases were triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Wright says the company immediately stopped importing crude oil from Russia – then about a quarter to a third of its supply – in response to the aggression. They shifted sourcing to Alaska, West Africa and South America.

By March 8, the Biden administration had banned imports from Russia. Prices continued rising as global markets scrambled to locate other sources for crude oil, which reached $139 a barrel in March 2022 before cooling significantly.

“Our business is priced o the world market, so as crude moves, our revenue will also move,” Wright says.

The eight other energy companies on the list also reported gains, including Hawaiian Electric up 31% and Island Energy Services up 63%. The smallest energy company in the list, Independent Energy Hawaii, founded in 2020, was up 258% to reach $5.7 million in gross revenue.

Higher crude oil prices in 2022 meant higher prices for processed fuels, which consumers saw at the gas pump, in airline ticket prices and electricity bills.


A “Lower-Carbon Future”

The search for alternative fuel sources is now moving in new directions, says Wright. In June 2022, Par Hawaii and Hawaiian Airlines announced a joint e ort to begin replacing traditional jet fuel, now 39% of Par’s business, with cleaner renewable fuels.

Par invested $90 million for new refinery equipment to process plant-based oils and waste oils and turn them into renewable diesel and jet fuel. They hope to start commercially producing the fuel in about two years.

“It’s a new era for the refinery,” says Wright. While the initial goal is to produce 60 million gallons of renewable aviation fuel a year, or about 5% of total production, Wright notes that this is a significant achievement.

“There was hardly any sustainable aviation fuel produced last year. Our refinery will be one of the largest sustainable aviation-fuel facilities in the world,” he says.

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Par refinery employees check equipment as part of their proactive maintenance. | Photo: Aaron Yoshino

Seed oils and waste oils will be imported at the start, but Par is currently testing biofuel crops that can be grown in Hawai‘i. In partnership with Pono Pacifi c, a natural resources management company, Par is now working with camelina, a promising oilseed crop. “It has nitrogen-fixing properties so it rejuvenates the soil, and it doesn’t compete with food-based crops,” Wright says. “We’re really excited to be part of the (solution) here in Hawai‘i as we transition to a lower-carbon future.”


Tourism Industry Rebounds

For revenue gains, the standout industry on the Top 250 list was tourism. Overall, Hawai‘i GDP data shows accommodation and food services was a $9.7 billion industry in 2022 – 19% higher than the year before.

All 17 companies in the Top 250’s tourism and leisure category reported increases in 2022, with an average gain of 93% in gross revenue. These companies ranged from dinner cruises and submarine attractions to luxury global hotel chains.

Visitors returned in droves last year. The UHERO dashboard shows 9.2 million visitors arrived in the Islands in 2022, a 36.5% increase from the year before. That was close to the 10.38 million who arrived in the peak year of 2019.

Most visitors came from North America. The anticipated return of visitors from Japan stalled, and is only a quarter of what it was before the pandemic, according to a March 2023 report released by UHERO.

“The long-awaited removal of Japanese travel restrictions has finally enabled a modest improvement in Japanese visitor arrivals for the first time since the pandemic began,” says the UHERO report, “but there is still a long way to go in resurrecting this market.”

And U.S. tourists who came in 2022 may be running low on “excess savings” accumulated during the pandemic, leading to challenges ahead, says the report. By April of this year, for instance, fewer visitors were arriving from the West Coast than the year before, according to DBEDT.

While many residents have a “love-hate relationship” with tourism – weary of the crowded beaches but happy for the jobs – the visitor industry remains a leading driver of Hawai‘i’s economy and was a bright spot in 2022.


How We Compile the Top 250

Top 250 companies and nonprofits are ranked by gross sales or gross revenue, key indicators of market strength and influence.

Each spring, Hawaii Business Magazine surveys companies in our database and gathers updated financial figures, employee counts, names of executives and other information.

Businesses are asked to calculate gross sales using generally accepted accounting principles, while nonprofits report revenues from contributions, funding for services or proceeds from activities that support their missions. All provide the name of an executive who verifies the self-reported figures.

Companies headquartered in Hawai‘i report sales from all their subsidiaries worldwide; those based elsewhere report Hawai‘i figures only. While we prefer calendar year data, some organizations operate on a fiscal year.

To supplement the survey process, we draw on public records such as annual reports, financial statements, databases of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and National Credit Union Administration, and insurance figures from the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Some companies with a large local presence don’t appear on the list. The omission is o en because an offshore parent company can’t separate data for its Hawai‘i operations, or because the company is privately held and does not disclose financial information.

Top 250 executives are surveyed and profiled in our Black Book issue each December.

08 23 Hb Cover Top 250The signature August issue featuring the Top 250 companies in Hawaiʻi is available for print purchase. Click here!




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