ANCHORAGE (AP) -- NANA Regional Corp. lost $8.6 million last year, its first loss since 1993, said Marie Greene, the Alaska Native company's new president.
The Alaska Native regional corporation for Northwest Alaska says it was hurt by losses on Wall Street, low zinc prices and the write-off of two losing investments. Green said the company is focusing now on cost reduction and stabilizing the company.
''We need to tighten our belts,'' she said.
NANA decided to write off its investment in WAVE Wholesale Co., a rural grocery service begun by Calista Corp. that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year, Greene said. Calista is the Native corporation for the Bethel region. NANA lost $3.1 million in WAVE, she estimated.
The company also wrote off Alaska Pride Bakery, an Anchorage bread venture that found it couldn't compete against Wonder Bread and all the other brands available, she said.
NANA's problems were compounded because it did not see the returns it expected from Red Dog, the world's largest zinc mine, Greene said. NANA owns the mine, which is operated by TeckCominco.
''Zinc prices were just so low, and royalties weren't what we expected,'' Greene said.
NANA also is an investor in three newer hotels in Anchorage plus one in Fairbanks.
Greene, whose appointment as NANA president was announced Thursday, said she knew she was taking over the company during a low point. She was fully aware of the difficulties when she applied for the job, Greene said, and is up to the task of turning the company around.
''The board's ready, I'm ready, senior management is ready. It'll be an additional challenge. But we're ready,'' Greene said.
She has years of experience with NANA, having worked her way up through the ranks since 1992. An Inupiat Eskimo from the village of Deering, Greene was most recently the senior vice president and chief operating officer.
She has a bachelor's degree in rural development from Chukchi College, a branch of the University of Alaska, and is working on her master's.
Before coming to NANA, Greene was president of Maniilaq Association, the regional nonprofit health corporation for the Northwest Arctic region.
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