Next year could bring big changes to Nunasi Corp.
Company restructuring will likely follow board restructuring
More change lies ahead in 2013 for Nunasi Corp. which announced a major restructuring of its board Nov. 16 to bring it under the direct control and ownership of Nunavut’s regional development corporations and Inuit associations.
The upshot, according to Nunasi’s president Wilf Wilcox, is that 2013 will be ““big year for decisions” at the Nunavut Inuit birthright corporation, formed in 1976 to participate in business opportunities in what is now Nunavut.
“We’re very cognizant of the fact that there’s still some hard work to do.”
The hard work could see some companies now owned by Nunasi dissolved or amalgamated.
“The plan is to go through companies and decide if there’s a future there, or if they need to amalgamate or maybe the time has run out on that arrangement,” Wilcox said.
Recently Nunasi has been financially weakened by losses suffered by the Norterra group of companies, one of its most important subsidiaries.
The Norterra group of companies, owned by the Inuit of Nunavut through Nunasi Corp. and the Inuvialuit of the NWT through the Inuvialuit Development Corp., include firms like Canadian North and NTCL, the shipping company that has been losing contracts in the Baffin and Kivalliq regions for many years.
Many of Nunasi’s own subsidiaries, such as Kitnuna, have also suffered this year.
Kitnuna, which stood to make millions from Newmont Mining Corp.‘s Hope Bay gold mine—now in “care and maintenance”—has seen its revenues cut.
“People are very keen to see good results come out of these companies. A lot of hard work has gone into these companies over the years and we’ll try to capture the good and carry forward with new initiatives for better and stronger results,” Wilcox said.
To oversee Nunasi, there’s a new management team in place: Archie Angnakak, who was hired as chief executive officer earlier this year, and Greg Cayen, the president and chief executive officer of NCC Investment Group Inc., who took over from Tim Zehr, who resigned as president and chief operating officer of Nunasi last June.
And the board will now be comprised of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, Kivalliq Inuit Association, Qikiqtani Inuit Association, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., Kitikmeot Corp., Sakku Investments Corp., Qikiqtaaluk Corp. and Nunasi Corp..
The chair and president of each of the three regional development corporations along with one appointee from each of the three regional Inuit associations will form the Nunasi board of directors.
That’s a plus, Wilcox said, because board membership will be the same as ownership.
During 2013 Wilcox said the board will also discuss how to deal with the conflicts of interests between companies owned by the regional Inuit groups and by Nunasi, which sometimes end up competing against each other.
“By this time next year, we hope to be on a completely new path and have hard issues resolved and behind us,” Wilcox said. “I’m pretty optimistic. I’m happy we’re making progress towards a new structure. The early steps have been good ones and we’ll work hard to make the following ones are good ones as well.”
Right now Canadian North, one of the Norterra group of companies, competes directly with two firms owned by Inuit birthright firms that have formed joint ventures with First Air: Sakku First Aviation and Qikiqtani First Aviation.
Wilcox said it will be a priority to restore dividends worth several hundred thousand dollars that, until this year, were handed out to regional Inuit organizations.