Maui Pineapple shutting down, laying off workers - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Maui Pineapple shutting down, laying off workers

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By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

KAHULUI, Maui (HawaiiNewsNow) - The last of the big pineapple farms on Maui is shutting down and laying off more than 400 people.

Tuesday Maui Land and Pineapple announced structural changes to both of its companies, Maui Pineapple Company Ltd. and Kapalua Land Company, Ltd.

"Unfortunately, despite our exhaustive efforts to revitalize the pineapple business over the last few years and efforts to keep agriculture jobs on Maui, market conditions have not improved and pineapple operations at MPC are not financially sustainable," said Warren H. Haruki, chairman and interim CEO of ML&P.

"Since 2002, MPC has lost $115 million in this agriculture business, while investing $20 million in capital expenditures for a new fresh packing facility," Haruki said. "Realizing that these losses could no longer continue, we spent the last year exploring options to keep pineapple operations going on Maui. Despite our efforts, it became clear that there were no other financially viable options. The painful decision to close pineapple operations at MPC after 97 years was incredibly difficult to make, but absolutely necessary. We realize this ends a significant chapter in Maui's history an important part of many lives, over many generations."

Kapalua Land Company will "streamline operations" by finding other operators to manage select assets of the Kapalua Resort.

ML&P has notified more than 400 workers they will be laid off at the end of the year, however, the company expects as many as 133 employees who worked for KLC will be offered jobs by the new operators at Kapalua.

ML&P expects that as many as 285 of the employees being terminated will not find work with the new operators. Most of those workers come from the pineapple operation.

The ILWU told Hawaii News Now all 193 of its members are being laid off.