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Million-dollar loan

Dave Sullivan
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Jun 25/01) - A $1.5-million loan from Atuqtuarvik Corporation seals a deal made almost a year ago.

The loan makes Kitikmeot Corp. an equal partner with Nunasi Corp. in the Cambridge Bay construction company Fred H. Ross and Associates.

The acquisition cost $10 million but Kitikmeot was short $1.5 million for its 50 per cent share of the construction company, said Nunasi Corp. president Fred Hunt.

The loan came through May 29. The joint company's new name is Kitnuna.

The purchase puts in Inuit hands an important company that builds, sells hardware, distributes fuel and hauls freight.

"It's a major investment ... hopefully the benefits will go to the community," said Atuqtuarvik chair John Hickes.

The previous owner of Fred H. Ross and Associates, Lyle Hawkins, is in his 70s and wanted to retire, Hickes said.

The loan comes from a $20-million pool established by Atuqtuarvik last year from the Nunavut land claim settlement.

Atuqtuarvik, based in Rankin Inlet, was set up to loan Nunavut Inuit companies and individual beneficiaries between $100,000 and $3 million for business ventures.

The $20-million pool is expected to balloon to $50 million over the next few years from interest generated by the Nunavut Trust, in addition to other earnings.

Nunasi owns half of Norterra, which in turn owns Northern Transportation Company, Canadian North Airlines, SRI Homes and Weldco-Beales Manufacturing. The land-claim company is also a joint-venture partner in 20 other corporations. Among holdings of Kitikmeot Corp. are Kitikmeot Airlines and Polar Net, an Internet service provider.