NANA profits shine with longtime diversification strategy

By Tim Bradner 

Alaska Journal of Commerce

A strategic business plan adopted in the mid-1990s by NANA Regional Corp. for its business subsidiary, NANA Development Corp., has served the company well through the ups and downs of the economy, including the sharp national recession that began in 2009.

 "Eighty percent of our business income was from oil and gas support services in 1995, which made us very vulnerable to the periodic swings in that industry," said Helvi Sandvik, president of NANA Development Corp.

"A lot of the work we were doing was also in the low end of the business in terms of margins. We felt we needed to change our strategy and diversify into other businesses with higher margins, and in other geographic markets," Sandvik said.

This turned out to be a wise decision.

"We would be in a world of hurt if we were still 80 percent dependent on Alaska oil support work today given the current state of the industry in Alaska," Sandvik said.

NANA is doing well, thanks to royalty earnings from the Red Dog lead and zinc mine, which is on lands owned by the corporation, as well as good performance by NDC-owned businesses. NANA earned a $41.17 million net profit on $1.59 billion in revenues in 2010 and paid about half of its earnings in dividends to its 12,700 Inupiat shareholders. Earnings in 2011 are expected to be similar.

Read full story at the Alaska Journal of Commerce