April 14, 2011 |

Shareholders OK $12.6 million payout; Klukwan checks go out April 21

By a margin of 79 percent, Klukwan, Inc. shareholders have approved a $12.6 million payout from the company’s general income trust. It’s the second largest distribution in the company’s history and the largest from the trust.

Checks in the amount of $500 per share will be mailed to shareholders April 21.

“I think it’s going to be a windfall,” said Klukwan, Inc. board secretary Dave Berry. “I know for a fact there are a lot of people who have unpaid bills. Everyone’s going to be happy.”

Village corporation president Ralph Strong said the vote wasn’t unexpected, as it matched sentiment expressed in a shareholder survey about a year ago. “This is definitely not a surprise. We had the answer from the survey.”

The distribution won’t affect Klukwan, Inc. operations, as trust money is held in a separate account, Strong said. However, future dividends will likely be much smaller, as the trust has been significantly reduced, he said.

Shareholder Jim Stevens said the vote sent a message to trust managers. Managers have been criticized for spending from the trust. Corporate managers have attributed questionable spending to a former executive.

Stevens said he was considering looking into a fish-processing business and relatives are considering investing in gold.

About one third of the 25,200 shares is held by Chilkat Valley residents. The distribution may affect shareholder eligibility for benefit programs, Strong said.

“It’s their money. They determine what to do with it. They can spend it locally. They can open a stock market account if they want. It’s their choice,” Strong said.

The distribution reduces the trust to about $9 million. Most of the money is invested with Charles Schwab and various money managers, Strong said.

The corporation’s largest distribution, $650 per share, came when the general trust was created in 1996.