Sealaska looks to diversify revenue

KETCHIKAN — As Sealaska Corp. reduces its timber program, the company is exploring new revenue streams, including a possible acquisition of a natural foods business.

Sealaska Natural Resources Manager Brian Kleinhenz told the Ketchikan Daily News on Wednesday during the Southeast Conference annual meeting that the Alaska Native corporation is switching to a permanently sustainable timber harvesting program, which will mean a reduction in harvests.

Kleinhenz said the change will maintain the 200 direct and indirect jobs related to the timber harvests. The company plans to harvest from 40 million to 45 million board feet each year.

“When we talk about the timber industry specifically, when we talk about creating a sustainable model on that, we know we’re going to have to reduce profitability by lowering our timber harvests,” Kleinhenz said. “The most profitable thing to do would be to harvest quickly. However, that’ll create a boom-and-bust economy. … We want to move past that.”

He said over the next 15 to 20 years the company will log its existing supply of old growth while gradually introducing young growth to prepare customers for processing smaller logs.

Kleinhenz said the company hopes to break into either the natural foods or seafood market before this time next year. He said the company is in talks with another business, but the identity of that business is confidential.

“We’re looking and making a substantial new acquisition, or joint venture, so that we can leverage our unique status as a Native corporation and partner with someone who has need of our expertise and a benefit, but they’re running a successful business already,” he said.

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Information from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.ketchikandailynews.com

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