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Eight that soared.

Companies Whose Revenues Grew More Than 60 Percent

Eight New 49ers saw 1990 revenues soar, posting increases of more than 60 percent.

The fastest growing New 49er in 1990 was 43rd-ranked Brice Inc., whose revenues jumped from $8.4 million in 1989 to $18.4 million in 1990, an increase of 118 percent. The Fairbanks-based civil construction company, which specializes in remote-site projects, is described by secretary-treasurer Sam Brice as "kind of a local Bush company."

Brice's biggest job of 1990 was the Drift River project. In December of 1989, Redoubt Volcano began erupting, forcing the closure of the Drift River oil terminal. Although hampered by heavy snowfall and thick mud, the construction company's workers built an 8,300-foot flood control dike along Rust Slough. The Drift River dike was named by the National Society of Professional Engineers as one of nine Outstanding Engineering Achievements of 1990.

Brice Inc., which also operates a boat and barge service, worked on other projects in Point Hope, Ambler, Koyuk, Scammon Bay and Deering in 1990. Helenka Brice, Sam Brice's mother, helped found the company in 1961 and continues to serve as president.

"Last year was kind of a blip; we can't sustain that," Sam Brice says. "However, it looks like 1991 is going to be just fine. The construction industry is circumstance-driven. We just react to what there is to do."

C.R. Lewis Co. Inc. of Anchorage placed second among the fastest growing New 49er companies. The mechanical contractor saw a 99 percent increase in revenues, from $6.7 million in 1989 to $13.4 million in 1990.

Says company president Russell Lewis, "This was not an average year, but in this business it always depends. Most of what we do is bid work, and that's always a gamble."

Among major projects occupying 48th-ranked C.R. Lewis in 1990 were the Fort Richardson armory, the Bradley Lake hydroelectric project, the Eagle River waste water facility and Providence Hospital improvements.

The third greatest surge in revenues among the New 49ers was registered by third-ranked Arctic Slope Regional Corp. of Barrow. The northernmost Native regional corporation posted a 94 percent increase in revenues, from $112.8 million in 1989 to $218.4 million in 1990.

Sandra Stuermer, controller for the company, says, "ASRC is involved in every major industry in Alaska except timber and fishing." The subsidiary contributing most to revenues is ASRC Construction Inc., which provides oilfield support services. Other ASRC subsidiaries are involved in fuel refining and distribution, tourism, construction and telecommunications. The Arctic Slope Consulting Group Inc., ASRC's engineering branch, posted record revenues and profits in 1990 and opened new offices in Juneau, Seattle and Albuquerque, N.M.

Last year ASRC established Arctic Slope Inspection Services, specializing in corrosion detection, monitoring and engineering methods for pipeline systems. The company has found work in Alaska, West Coast states, the Midwest, the southeastern United States, and in the Pacific Rim countries of Indonesia and Malaysia.

A 78 percent rise in revenues from $18.5 million in 1989 to $32.9 million in 1990 made Construction & Rigging Inc. of Anchorage the fourth fastest growing New 49er. The construction company, ranked 32rd, specializes in heavy structures, such as bridges and docks, and industrial facilities.

Brad West, senior vice president of Construction & Rigging, says the 1990 construction market was pretty competitive, but projects in public works and in the fisheries industry, particularly in Dutch Harbor, are prospering. The company's office in Seattle is also doing well.

Construction & Rigging has grown accustomed to expansion: The company has posted increases of 30 to 50 percent every year for the last five years.

The fifth fastest growing New 49er, 12th-ranked All Alaskan Seafoods Inc., reported a 74 percent revenue hike, from $52.6 million in 1989 to $91.7 million in 1990. The seafood company processes salmon, herring, groundfish and Bering Sea crab, and markets the products as wholesale frozen seafood.

Jeff DeBell, All Alaskan's vice president for finance, says, "Basically, the Exxon Valdez oil spill got out of the way. In 1990, we had the year we should have had in 1989." The larger catches after the spill cleanup allowed the company fuller use of its processing vessel, the M.V. All Alaskan, purchased in 1989.

All Alaskan also operates the M.V. Northern Alaska and a land-based processing plant in Kodiak. Another boat, the M.V. Alaskan Grand Isle, was expected to be added to the fleet this year, but may be excluded because the company didn't meet new groundfish regulations in time.

All Alaskan is based in Kodiak, but its largest office staff is in Seattle to be close to seafood industry buyers. The company has experienced slow, steady growth since its start in 1976. Employment also has climbed steadily, reaching 700 workers in 1990.

The sixth fastest growing New 49er, 45th-placed Sea Hawk Seafoods Inc., saw its $8.2 million 1989 revenues jump 72 percent to $14.1 million in 1990. The Valdez-based seafood company buys all commercial species of Alaskan finfish from independent fishermen and processes them at its onshore plant.

"You have to remember that '89 was the Exxon Valdez oil spill," says president Raymond Cesarini. "That greatly affected the amount of catch that came to us. A lot of fishermen didn't even go out."

Sea Hawk exports about 80 percent of its output, selling the remainder domestically. Of the fish exported, 60 percent typically is sold to the Orient and 40 percent to Europe. The company was formed in 1981 and incorporated in 1983.

Tenth-ranked Cook Inlet Region Inc. was the seventh fastest growing New 49er, with a 71 percent revenue hike from $57.9 million in 1989 to $99.1 million in 1990. "Our major businesses are related to the development of our lands, both here in Alaska and in the Lower 48," says Barbara Donatelli, vice president of administration. Much of the Anchorage-based Native regional corporation's land is in the Railbelt area of Southcentral Alaska.

Since its founding, CIRI has focused on the management and development of its oil and gas holdings, and the corporation has begun to move from royalty owner to active participant in the oil and gas industry. It owns companies in oil and gas exploration and development, natural gas transmission, and oil and gas transmission.

CIRI also owns real estate development firms in Alaska, Virginia and Georgia and operates a joint-venture communications company, with television stations in Connecticut and Tennessee and 11 radio stations across the country. In July of 1990, CIRI established North Pacific Mining Corp. to manage and market the company's extensive Alaska mineral properties.

Gaston & Associates Inc., an Anchorage-based general contractor, is the eighth fastest growing New 49er, with revenues of $25.6 million in 1990, 68 percent more than 1989's $15.2 million. No stranger to growth spurts, 35th-ranked Gaston was the fastest growing New 49er in 1989 with an increase of 191 percent.

"We seem to have alternating years of growth and leveling out," says Sam Gaston, president. "It looks like we'll have growth in '92 the way the contracts are coming in." The company's 1990 projects included Lake Otis and Rogers Park schools renovations and additions in Anchorage, the Fisheries Research Center in Kodiak, a diesel-maintenance facility at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, and an auto skills center at Fort Wainwright, near Fairbanks.
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Title Annotation:8 Alaskan companies whose revenue growth posted above 60%
Author:Gerhart, Clifford
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Previous Article:Prospecting for the top 49.
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