Monday, February 12, 2001
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Posted on: Monday, February 12, 2001

Business briefs

Advertiser Staff and News Services

Four local business leaders will join the roster of 39 current members of the Hawai
i Business Hall of Fame in an induction ceremony planned by Junior Achievement at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, Kauai and Maui ballrooms. The honorees: Edward T. Fukuda, president of Kandi’s Drive Inn Inc., Hilo; Edward J. Hogan, chairman and chief executive of Pleasant Holidays; Francis S. Oda, chairman and chief executive of Group 70 International; and (legacy laureate) the late Chinn Ho, founder of Capital Investment Co. The keynote speaker will be David McClain, dean of the University of Hawaii-Manoa College of Business Administration. The event will begin at 6 p.m., and a dinner and induction ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. RSVP by today: 486-8806.

Las Vegas Sands Inc. plans to spend about $1 billion adding 4,100 rooms to its Venetian casino, which would make it the world’s largest hotel, said Sands president William Weidner. Sands would add 1,100 rooms to the Venetian in 2002, Weidner said, and start work on a 3,000-room hotel building on the property later that year. The Venetian then would have more than 7,000 rooms, surpassing MGM Grand’s 5,034 rooms to become the world’s biggest hotel. Weidner said the 3,000-room hotel would not follow the same design as the existing Venetian casino. The Venetian, on the Las Vegas Strip, opened in 1999. The expansion comes amid a slowdown in gaming revenue in Las Vegas. MGM Mirage Inc. said last month that it is delaying a development next to its Bellagio casino in Las Vegas to focus on a new resort next to a $1 billion hotel and casino it’s building in Atlantic City, N.J.

A collection of civil liberties proponents, conservative groups and unions will challenge federal and state officials today to sign a pledge calling for federal privacy safeguards and promotion of new technologies to protect personal information. Several U.S. lawmakers have said that they will push hard to pass some form of consumer privacy legislation this year. Scores of bills were introduced during the last Congress, and many of those have already been brought back by their sponsors. The pledge calls for a baseline of federal privacy laws, with protections then enhanced by industry and individual states. The groups include the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the American Library Association and the conservative Eagle Forum.

Hasbro Inc. chief executive Alan Hassenfeld, who is trying to return the worlds’ No. 2 toymaker to profitability, said he’s shifting his focus to traditional brands such as Mr. Potato Head and Monopoly and away from hot licenses that have contributed to wild swings in performance. The company, which just reported its first quarterly loss in almost a decade, has suffered as the popularity of Pokemon and other licensed products plummeted and it neglected its own brands. "I have to take most of the blame for taking our eye off the ball" Hassenfeld told investors at the American International Toy Fair in New York over the weekend. As part of its turnaround effort, Hasbro will count on a base revenue of $2.5 billion annually from its array of "evergreen" brands and strategic licenses. Hasbro calculated this number from its performance over the past five years, excluding huge spikes from licenses such as Pokemon and Star Wars. The company also aims to reduce debt.

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