CIRI held its 36th annual meeting of shareholders on June 6 in Soldotna, Alaska, and elected five Board members to serve three-year terms on our company’s 15-member board. I congratulate our three returning directors, Douglas W. Fifer, Jeffrey A. Gonnason O.D., and Louis “Lou” Nagy Jr. Welcome also to our two new directors, Erik I. Frostad and Ted S. Kroto Sr.
I look forward to working closely with all of these individuals and the rest of the CIRI Board of Directors. Our Board members’ broad range of business experiences combined with their focus on long-term corporate growth and their competent guidance will be crucial to our company’s continued success and stability as we realign CIRI’s investments to adjust for current economic conditions and to benefit from emerging business trends.
CIRI is moving forward to take advantage of opportunities created by the ongoing economic slowdown by making new investments that are designed to grow shareholder equity and revenue for years to come. CIRI is well-positioned to invest in a variety of established and emerging companies that have excellent business models but are temporarily distressed because of credit or cash-flow problems that trace back to last year’s economic collapse on Wall Street and around the world.
Our executive team, with Board supervision, is working to identify promising investments that both maintain CIRI’s investment diversity and benefit from CIRI’s core strengths. The company intends to maintain its successful investments in real estate development and management, oilfield and construction services, tourism and telecommunications. It is simultaneously working to expand its energy and resource development portfolio, especially on CIRI land around Cook Inlet, by exploring for and developing new energy resources including natural gas and wind.
The company is also moving into new fields that benefit from CIRI’s core strengths, including liquidity, management experience and expertise and our minority-owned business status. The front page of this newsletter, for example, shows that CIRI recently entered into new areas of “cleantech” (clean technology) business that are expected to benefit from global market trends that favor sustainable energy production and manufacturing techniques, which could increase U.S. energy independence while also reducing dependence upon scarce energy resources and reducing or cleaning up greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution. These markets are expected to grow into the foreseeable future. Analysts project, for example, that world energy consumption will increase some 40 percent during the next 20 years. Codexis and companies in The Westly Group portfolio have a bright future because they are developing products and techniques that will satisfy this demand growth while also preserving the environment and the economy for future generations.
CIRI is poised to move quickly to take advantage of some of the investment bargains that are in the market today. However, our executive team and Board are also exercising great caution and endeavoring to identify and invest in strong companies and projects that have great long-term growth potential, because the decisions that we are making today will influence our company’s performance for decades to come.
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, perhaps the most successful investor of our day, said, “It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.” CIRI’s executive team and Board members subscribe to this same belief, and we are investing the company’s resources accordingly.