At the last board meeting we recessed so we could celebrate Walter Soboleff Day. The state of Alaska now recognizes his birthday on November 14, to honor his impact on Alaska Native people. Dr. Soboleff has influenced my commitment to working together for the common good of future generations.
As we look back on 2014, we recognize that together we have created change at Sealaska. Shareholders have created change by participating in the proxy process and electing new leadership on the board of directors. At Sealaska the board, along with management, continues to focus on two areas to accomplish our strategic goals.
1) Restructuring and containing costs
2) Continuing our process of due diligence as we search for a new acquisition
We are finding efficiencies at all levels. For example, we are integrating the service companies within Sealaska Government Services while building a collaborative business development team. They will focus efforts on higher margin and greater value-add contracts. Additionally, Sealaska is restructuring by selling companies like Security Alliance, a business that was analyzed to be outside our core area of operating focus.
I feel strongly that this is the most intentional and thoughtful process we have undergone for an acquisition. Speed is important, but more important is getting it right. We want our shareholders to feel they can get behind this process.
One of the strategic goals for Sealaska is to be self-sustaining with income from operations. This will allow us to use ANCSA Section 7(i) income and our investment fund income for further investments, to increase long-term growth and to widen shareholder benefits.
During this transformative year, shareholder distributions are coming from ANCSA Section 7(i) and the Marjorie V. Young (MVY) Shareholder Permanent Fund. I am not happy that the distribution does not include any payments from operations, but this is a result of the 2013 losses. The MVY Shareholder Permanent Fund is doing exactly what it was intended to do, to provide a stable source of dividends. The 7(i) fund is also working as ANCSA intended. While we paid into 7(i) during the last few decades, today we see it providing back positive income.
I want to remind shareholders that Sealaska’s acquisition goals will not be accomplished until 2015-2016 as we bring on new operating investments. We look forward to moving full steam ahead in the New Year. As always, I appreciate your feedback as well as patience, during this time of significant change.
I wish you a peaceful holiday season with your family and friends.
Sealaska President and CEO