Sealaska reaps $29 million in profits in 2003

Timber sales, plastics lead to healthy returns; amount of dividends to be announced in the fall

Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Sealaska Corp. made a $29 million profit based on $177 million in revenue in fiscal year 2003, primarily from a heavy return on investments and a vibrant timber market, spokesman Todd Antioquia said Monday.

Sealaska issued its latest financial report at its 31st annual shareholders meeting Saturday in Sitka. The regional corporation, based in Juneau, is owned by 17,000 Alaska Native shareholders.

The 2003 profit margin was less than the $40.5 million Sealaska reported in fiscal year 2002, but that was unusually high because the company had two investments that matured early that year, Antioquia said. The company's fiscal year runs the same as the calendar.

"As far as long-term averages are concerned, this is still excellent and in line for what our strategic planning predicted," he said.

It is too soon to determine if the company will pay a dividend this fall, Antioquia said. Dividend payouts typically occur each spring and fall if the company deems it financially viable, he said.

In April 2003, Sealaska issued a dividend of $2.37 per share, and a dividend of $1 per share in November. In April of 2004, the company paid $2 per share. The average shareholder owns 100 shares.

Sealaska shareholders re-elected to three-year terms board members Patrick Anderson, Joseph Demmert Jr., Clarence Jackson Sr. and Jacqueline Johnson.

The Sealaska Board of Directors held a reorganization meeting after the annual meeting and re-elected Albert Kookesh as chairman; Rosita Worl as vice-chairwoman; Chris McNeil Jr., president and chief executive officer; Rick Harris, executive vice president; William Strafford, executive vice president and chief financial officer; and Patrick Duke, treasurer and corporate investment officer. Nicole Hallingstad was newly named vice president and corporate secretary.

The company started the 2003 fiscal year with $64 million worth of stock and bond investments in its permanent fund, and had a return of $18.5 million. It paid $5.3 million to shareholders in dividends.

The company's most profitable subsidiary is Sealaska Timber Corp. in Ketchikan. In 2003, the timber company harvested 100 million board feet and profited $7.2 million after it paid $9.5 million to 11 other Native regional corporations. The payments are required under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act for revenue generated from natural resources, Antioquia said.

Sealaska also made a $1.8 million profit from its investments in the plastics industry. The profits came from Synergy Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary in Redmond, Wash., and Sealaska's plastics injection molding plant in Mexico. Sealaska owns 80 percent of the plant.

The company also started three new companies in 2003. They did not post profits, but were "on plan," Antioquia said.

Sealaska is a 51 percent owner in Aviarc, a Seattle-based company that specializes in securing the transmission of trade documents via the World Wide Web. It also has a 10 percent investment in International BioResearch in LaFayette, La. That company specializes in the collection of blood plasma from paid donors. The company started Sealaska Environmental Services in Juneau. It specializes in environmental mediation and surveying.

Part of Sealaska's corporate financial strategy is diversification, Antioquia said.

"It's made for significant diversification, but in the long run we're confident that the company and shareholders will benefit," he said.

In other news, the company paid $889,000 in scholarships and grants to students in 2003. It has paid $8 million to date.

• Tara Sidor can be reached at

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