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Sealaska Corp. shareholders will receive their highest semi-annual distribution payment in years when direct deposit and mail checks are issued today.
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Urban and at-large shareholders will receive $8.13 per share, while village shareholders will garner $3.45 per share, according to Todd Antioquia, Sealaska director of corporate communications.
That amounts to $813 for the average urban or at-large shareholder, who holds 100 shares.
Dividends have risen significantly since last spring, when villagers received $2.57 per share, and urban and at-large recipients received $3.82.
Sealaska, the regional Native corporation for Southeast Alaska, has approximately 17,400 shareholders, and roughly 80 percent of those are urban or at-large.
This winter's total distribution is approximately $12.8 million, Antioquia said. Of that, $10.7 million is going directly to shareholders and roughly $2.1 million is going to village corporations.
"Any distribution is always exciting," said Mick Beasley, a Sealaska shareholder and a Tlingit artist. "I imagine a lot of it has to with 7(i). A lot more corporations are sharing their natural resources. It's wonderful."
A legal provision known as "7(i)" requires Alaska-based regional Native corporations to share 70 percent of their net revenues from timber, oil and gas, or minerals with each other, as well as with Native urban and village corporations.
The $4.68 difference in urban/at-large and village shares is because part of the distribution is a Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Section 7(j) revenue sharing payment. That money comes from 7(i) revenue sharing.
Sealaska sends the 7(j) payments directly to its urban and at-large shareholders, but not to its village shareholders.
Because of the way the settlement act was written, the 7(j) portions are sent to village corporations, which decide whether to use the money for operations, scholarships or dividends.
Sealaska usually distributes dividends in April and December.
This year's total distribution to urban and at-large shareholders is $11.95 per share, far more than in 2005 ($8.08), 2004 ($6.00) and 2003 ($5.00).
"The board has been very pleased," Antioquia said. "This has come as no surprise. It's come through very careful, strategic planning, and very careful execution of that strategic plan. The board is determined to find other opportunities to maximize the opportunities for future growth."