Pine land to cost $420K a year
By Rick Daysog
Advertiser Staff Writer
A group that plans to restore pineapple growing on Maui will pay $420,000 a year to lease agricultural lands held by Maui Land & Pineapple Co.
Haliimaile Pineapple Co. also will pay $680,000 to purchase ML&P's farm equipment, supplies and customer lists, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
ML&P announced in November that it was shutting down pineapple operations after nearly 100 years of plantation-scale farming on the Valley Isle. The company harvested its final crop last month and laid off 206 workers.
But Haliimaile — whose principals include former ML&P executives Doug MacCluer and Ed Chenchin and Ulupalakua Ranch owner Pardee Erdman — said last week they plan restore pineapple farming on 950 acres of ML&P's 3,000-acre pineapple operations .
The new company said it also will take over ML&P's Maui Gold brand and will hire back 66 displaced pineapple workers.
In its SEC filing, ML&P said that Haliimaile will pay $20,000 to $30,000 in licensing fees to use the Maui Gold brand name.
Haliimaile will also have the option to expand pineapple growing on another 570 acres, the filing said.
Haliimaile executives said the company plans to focus on the local market, selling about 90 percent of its harvest in Hawai'i.
The company also will supply fresh fruit to local hotels, restaurants and supermarkets while increasing its direct-to-consumer business.
Haliimaile's majority owner is Erdman. Retired Maui Pineapple executive Douglas Schenk and recent ML&P executives Darren Strand and Rudy Balala are also part of the new venture.