On Tuesday, the Bristol Bay Native Corporation and Choggiung Limited announced that Choggiung has acquired a majority ownership of the Bristol Alliance of Companies.
The Bristol Alliance is a group of Anchorage-based construction, environmental, and professional services companies formed by BBNC in 1994.
“We recognized that one of the best ways we could continue to grow would be to sell a controlling interest to a third party,” said COO Scott Torrison. “We didn’t want to do that because all of our companies are important to us, but when we started to merge that idea with supporting village operations and giving them opportunity and opportunity for the region, those two came together to the transaction we’re talking about here. About a year ago we started a process to offer a controlling interest in the Bristol Alliance of Companies, which is an operating group for a construction operation based in Anchorage, to villages that were interested.”
The Bristol companies’ projects include environmental feasibility work, vertical construction, civil construction, and fuel system design and construction in Alaska. They also have projects in lower 48 and internationally.
“We’re always exploring ways that we can provide new growth opportunities to our companies,” said Torrison. “The mere fact that control has changed from BBNC to a village opens up new business opportunities, so we expect to see some growth coming from this. And the other side of it is that we really do have a passion for trying to develop things that are beneficial for Bristol Bay, beneficial for our villages, and beneficial for the region.”
After deciding to sell a majority share of the Bristol Alliance to a village corporation, BBNC began the selection process in the fall of 2017.
“We were very open about this whole process,” Torrison said. “We wanted to make sure that all villages had an opportunity if they were interested in doing something like this with us. And there were a few that showed interest and really took a good look at it, and then opted not to continue in this process. Because it is a big bite, to be sure.”
Choggiung Limited is the largest village corporation in Bristol Bay, with approximately 2,100 shareholders. According to President and CEO Cameron Poindexter, this new partnership will also help fulfill the Choggiung board’s objective to increase shareholder benefits and expand opportunities around the state.
“In the future, our shareholders can expect greater dividends, they can expect new job opportunities, mostly in areas outside the region,” Poindexter said. “So, in the upcoming years, shareholders can expect to see benefits paid through a different channel; potential elder benefit, potential bereavement benefits and things like that that we don’t currently offer on a regular basis.”
According to Torrison, this will greatly increase Choggiung’s ability to direct construction projects around the country and even internationally. Although no plans are currently in the works, there could be similar opportunities for village corporations in the future; these would likely be joint ventures.
BBNC will retain a minority interest in the Bristol Alliance of Companies. The Small Business Administration approved the change in ownership on June 20 and the sale is scheduled to close on July 31.
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