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Bankrupt Kauai shrimp farm assets finds local buyer

HAWAII - The chief executive of one of the state's largest charitable foundations is bidding for the assets of a bankrupt shrimp farm on Kauai. But a Louisiana-based fish-food maker who supplied feed to the farm has objected to the deal.

Kelvin Taketa, chief executive of the Hawaii Community Foundation, has surfaced as a buyer for the assets of Ceatech USA Inc., which filed for bankruptcy protection in March after years of lackluster financial performance.

But Burris Mill & Feed Inc. of Franklinton, La., claims that Taketa's $389,000 bid is too low and questions whether Ceatech did enough to market its assets before striking a deal with Taketa's firm, Sunrise Capital LLC.

Ceatech's proposed sale and Burris Mill's objection set the stage for a showdown later this month before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Lloyd King.

Since it filed for bankruptcy protection, Ceatech has continued to employ a skeleton staff to operate its shrimp hatchery in the state-owned Kekaha Agriculture Park. But the company is expecting to run out of cash by the end of the month.