Representatives from the Calista Corporation met at the Cultural Center in Bethel earlier this month with shareholders and descendants, to discuss the details of an upcoming vote on whether to issue shares to “afterborns,” those born after December 1971 when newly formed Alaska Native Corporations enrolled their shareholders.
Calista President and CEO Andrew Guy, and Chairman Willie Kasayulie shared information about what shareholders can expect if Calista’s shareholders triple in number. One of the shareholders’ main concerns focused on how much the annual dividend would decrease.
Bethel resident and shareholder, Stanely Hoffman says he would rather not have his annual dividend diluted. He compared Calista to the other Alaska Native regional corporations who issue dividends that are in the tens of thousands.
“I can see them doing that (enrolling afterborns) and getting a healthy dividend. If this passes we’ll never see another dividend. The way I look at it my kids will benefit more too cause they’ll get my shares after I die, the way it is now they’re not benefiting at all,” said Hoffman.
For example, if Calista gave out dividends to its 12,900 shareholders at $3.50 per share like it did earlier this year, a shareholder with a hundred shares would receive $350. But if the number of shareholders triples to as much as over forty thousand, Calista would have to reduce the dividends to as much as a third of the original worth. That would bring the dividend down $1.08 per share, and the average shareholder would receive around $108.
Calista said enrolling afterborns would also increase administrative costs and make it difficult to reach a quorum during future shareholder meetings. Also, shareholders would not be able to gift or transfer these new shares so these proposed shares would die with the shareholder.
Bethel resident Connie Sankwich is a Calista shareholder, she said the meeting included information she believes many have not considered.
“This presentation was really good it was very well outlined. I think that when the vote was initially passed in 2011 where shareholders, the majority of shareholders wanted to see a vote to enroll descendants, that the majority of the shareholders were not informed on what would happen,” said Sankwich.
Calista shareholders voted on an advisory proposal in 2011 to look at the possibility of issuing shares to descendants. Representatives from Calista will meet with shareholders from different communities in the near future to answer questions. Sometime next year, possibly during the summer months at the annual meeting, shareholders will vote on whether descendants will be issued shares.
The date and location for the annual meeting will be decided during the next Calista quarterly meeting in the first week of December.