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 Hawaiian Electric shares meltdown infographic
Graphic charts Hawaiian Electric’s share price.


Wildfire lawsuits see Hawaiian Electric shares plummet

By Ninian Carter

August 15, 2023 - Shares in Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) have crashed amid scrutiny over whether the company’s power equipment sparked the Maui wildfires.

Despite no official cause for the deadly blaze on Maui being found yet, multiple lawsuits have already been filed against Hawaiian Electric amid reports that blown down power lines may have started the fire – the deadliest in the U.S. in more than a century.

On Monday, August 14, relentless selling by spooked investors sent Hawaiian Electric’s stock price into free fall, wiping out more than a billion dollars by market close – its biggest ever loss since the utility was founded in 1891.

To date, federal estimates for damages from the tragedy have reached in excess of $5.5 billion, far exceeding Hawaiian Electric’s market capitalisation of $2.4 billion and putting its entire future in doubt if found negligent.

Honolulu-based Hawaiian Electric, which operates the Maui Electric utility, has declined to comment.

On Monday, Guggenheim Securities cut its price target for Hawaiian Electric from $32 per share to $18, before warning that it could fall even further.

Shares closed down 34% at $21.46 the same day.

PUBLISHED: 15/08/2023; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images