Report: Native corporations generate billions

Posted: Tuesday, May 25, 2004

ANCHORAGE - Alaska Native corporations continue to pack a significant economic punch, according to a new report.

The 43 regional and village corporations surveyed had total revenues of at least $2.4 billion on assets of $2.7 billion in 2002, according to the report commissioned by the Association of ANCSA Regional Corporation Presidents and CEOs.

The corporations paid out $408 million in payroll and $45.6 million in shareholder dividends. They also paid $6.4 million to charitable organizations and distributed $4 million to nearly 2,900 scholarship recipients.

Not all numbers in the report were up, however. Net income totaled $124 million in 2002, compared to $455 million in 2001. That significant drop likely was the result of Cook Inlet Region Inc., which had a record year in 2001 with the sale of its telecommunications investments. That year, CIRI issued two special distributions of $94 million to its shareholders.

This year's study reviewed the annual reports and financial data of the 13 Alaska Native regional corporations, as well as 30 of 169 village corporations that responded. It is the fourth year these reports have been issued. Comparisons are difficult, as different village corporations have participated each year.

The study is commissioned by the association each year to help Alaskans better understand the economic impact of Alaska Native-owned corporations.

Alaska Native corporations were created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act approved by Congress in 1971. ANCSA resulted in large part as a means to settle land disputes so that oil producers could build the pipeline from the North Slope to Valdez.

Under the act, Alaska Natives relinquished nearly all their claims to lands around the state in exchange for 44 million acres of land, to be conveyed later, and for payment of $962.5 million.

ANCSA created 12 regional corporations. The 13th Regional Corp. was formed later to serve Alaska Natives living outside the state during the time of registration for the Alaska-based corporations.

More than 200 village corporations were also formed under the act. There are currently 169 such corporations operating in Alaska, after several villages merged together or with their regional counterparts.

Alaska Natives with at least one-fourth Native ancestry were allowed to register to become shareholders in the corporations, having their choice between becoming owners in the region in which they were born or in the place where they lived at the time of the act's signing. About 80,000 Alaska Natives enrolled under ANCSA, and each received 100 shares of corporate stock. Those living in villages received 100 shares of both village and regional corporation stock.

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