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Several Native corporations issue spring dividends

Alex DeMarban
Aaron Jansen illustration

With its business on the rise, the Bering Straits Native Corporation announced Friday a special dividend of $500 to qualifying elders. The money will come in handy for elders living on fixed incomes, including those in rural areas where living costs are much higher than in Anchorage, said Matt Ganley, vice president of resources and external affairs.

The dividend will be paid by May 15 to shareholders 65 or older who received 100 original shares of common stock. "Since we are experiencing growth, we need to provide help to our elders," Ganley said.

The corporation was created by Congress four decades ago to provide opportunities to Alaska Natives with ties to the Bering Straits region. In 2011, it had revenues of about $200 million, Ganley said. Based in Nome, Bering Straits has grown in construction, federal contracts and other areas.  

On Thursday, Calista Corp., representing Alaska Native shareholders from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in Southwest Alaska, approved a dividend totaling $4 million. With a huge shareholder base of more than 12,000 people, the dividend will be $3 per share, or $300 for those owning 100 shares. The money should be mailed out Friday, April 13. The company reported revenue of $300 million in 2011, netting $16 million after taxes. Boosted by federal contracts, Calista began issuing a dividend five years ago after a long dry spell. The dividends have grown yearly, the company said in a press release.

The Arctic Slope Regional Corp. also recently announced it was issuing  a spring dividend totaling about $12 million, or $10.38 per share. That's about $1,038 for the average shareholders with 100 shares of stock. The dividend will be issued April 13.

Arctic Slope, with headquarters in Barrow, represents about 11,000 Inupiat shareholders with ties to the Arctic Slope. With its heartland in the petroleum-rich North Slope, Arctic Slope is among the wealthiest Native corporations.  It issues a fall dividend as well.

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