Sealaska distributes $3 per share

Posted: Sunday, April 20, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) -- Sealaska, the Juneau-based corporation for Southeast Alaska Natives, is paying out $4.8 million in dividends to its shareholders.

For urban and at-large shareholders, the corporation is paying a dividend of $3 per share - $2.37 from the Sealaska permanent fund and 63 cents from Sealaska timber investments in 2002.

Shareholders who are enrolled in village corporations as well as Sealaska, about a quarter of the 16,500 total shareowners, will received $2.37 per share, wit the village corporations getting the remaining 63 cents per share. That money will be distributed to village shareholders according to each village corporation's policy, said Sealaska spokesman Todd Antioquia.

Most of Sealaska's shareholders hold 100 shares.

Though Sealaska warned shareholders in 2001 that dividends would be small in 2002 and 2003, the return on two successful investments by the corporation in recent years made the dividends possible, Antioquia said.

''The return on the Alaska Native Wireless investment in 2002 and the Valley View Casino return in 2002 created significant earnings within the fund and that allowed us to pay this dividend,'' Antioquia said.

Sealaska invested $44 million to join two other Native corporations in purchasing 44 wireless telephone licenses from the Federal Communications Commission in 2001. But that sale was later voided, and the entire $44 million plus interest was repaid to Sealaska by the FCC.

Sealaska invested $14.7 million in a casino built by the San Pasqual Indian Band in San Diego County, Calif., in 2001. The corporation received a payment of about $22 million from the investment in January 2003, and will continue to receive a slice of casino earnings until 2010.

The Sealaska permanent fund is valued at $64.7 million.

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