Shareholders of Sealaska will gather in Ketchikan for the Native corporation's annual meeting Saturday, for which people will fly in from all over Alaska and the Lower 48.
The board and company officials, which represents the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian tribes, will give shareholders an outline of Sealaska's performance last year and what they can expect next year.
In addition to conducting land deals and timber sales in Southeast Alaska, the company has factories in the Lower 48 and Mexico that produce products ranging from the plastic laundry soap scoopers in Tide boxes to plasma used in chicken pox vaccinations.
"We earned about $16 million on $152 million of revenue," Sealaska CEO Chris McNeil said.
Corporate officials want to steer the company toward expansion, particularly breaking into the market of diversity supply. Federal mandates now say a portion of raw materials used by large manufacturers must include parts made by minority companies, such as Native corporations.
"Our Iowa and Guadalajara operations are marketing heavily into Fortune 500 companies who have a a desire to purchase goods and services from minority-owned companies," McNeil said.
Besides the federal mandate, companies can use their purchases from minority companies as a marketing tool to a diverse range of communities, McNeil said.
On Saturday, the board will not discuss a proposal to give shares to descendants after reaching age 18.
"It's something the board of directors are evaluating but it's not going to be addressed at this particular meeting," said Executive Vice President Richard Harris.
Shares pay out dividends twice a year that usually range between $2 to $3 per share.
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act created the corporations and required them to give 100 shares to qualifying Natives born before Dec. 18, 1971, but not to those born after that date. An amendment to the act 20 years later allowed shareholders to give their stock to descendants by will or gift.
In efforts to allow the younger generation to be a part of their companies, other Native corporations such as Doyon Limited and Arctic Slope Regional Corp. are giving shares to descendants who turn 18 years old.
If Sealaska decides to support the idea, all shareholders will get the opportunity to vote on the issue, which would happen during either a special or an annual meeting.
In the meantime, McNeil said the company is seeking a technical amendment to ANCSA that would allow the vote to pass with a majority, but less than the recommended "super majority" of 80 percent.
The primary reason for the yearly shareholders' meeting is to elect members of the board of directors. Four of the 13 seats are up for election and seven candidates are vying for the spots.
Incumbent and Sealaska-sponsored candidates are Byron Mallott, Edward Thomas, Rosita Worl and Sidney Edenshaw. Independent nominees are Clarisa Ann Killian, Mary Marks and William Micklin.
Voter participation from shareholders is usually more than 70 percent.
The meeting is broadcast through a secure telecast on the company's Web site, www.sealaska.com. The Web site also has access to profiles of the candidates and financial reports from 2004.
Andrew Petty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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