Business

Big Island Carbon Files For Bankruptcy, Seeks Buyer

November 28, 2012, 2:02 PM HST
* Updated November 28, 2:25 PM
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The principal investor in a Kawaihae company honored last year for being at the forefront of cutting-edge technology in Hawaii is looking for a buyer, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported today.

The Star-Advertiser reported that Big Island Carbon LLC filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 5 in Delaware, where it is incorporated. It listed secured debt of $16.4 million and $395,684 owed to unsecured creditors, including $150,000 to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands which leased the company a four-acre site in the DHHL’s Kaie Hana Industrial Park.

All of the company’s 25 employees have been laid off, the newspaper reported.

The price tag for the factory rose from $20 to about $50 million because of unanticipated cost increases, the Star-Advertiser said.

Big Island Carbon LLC, which has been building a factory since 2009, was established to turn macadamia nut shells into granular activated carbon and bio-oil.

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According to Denham Capital, the project’s main investor, macadamia nut shells have been proven to have superior properties to other feedstock which would allow the company’s product to be used for specialty applications in air and water purification.

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Big Island Carbon was the Hawaii County winner in last year’s APEC 2011 Hawaii Business Innovation Showcase, which featured Hawaii companies with “unique, leading and cutting-edge innovations in product development, technology, marketing or delivery.”

Another criteria for the competition held in conjunction with last year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Honolulu was companies or organizations deemed attractive to the economies of the 21 APEC nations.

Big Island Carbon was selected the best from among six Big Island finalists that included Big Island Abalone Corp., Hawaii Preparatory Academy and Imiloa Astronomy Center.

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