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Meridian nets $4.8m on sale of stake in Hampshire First

By DENIS PAISTE
New Hampshire Union Leader

July 25. 2012 9:57PM

East Boston Savings Bank's parent company, Meridian Interstate Bancorp Inc., said Monday it gained $4.8 million before taxes on the sale of its 43 percent share in Manchester-based Hampshire First Bank.

Hampshire First Bank is now part of Norwich, N.Y.-based NBT Bancorp. Inc., the parent of NBT Bank. NBT closed June 8 on its $45 million purchase of Hampshire First, which consisted of 65 percent NBT shares and 35 percent cash.

Hampshire First Bank has retained its name and is a division of NBT.

East Boston Savings Bank was a co-founder of Hampshire First. It also operates the Mt. Washington Bank in Boston.

Meridian Interstate Bancorp. reported net income of $5.4 million, or 25 cents per diluted share, for the quarter ended June 30, compared to $4.2 million, or 19 cents per diluted share, for the quarter ending June 30, 2011.

Separately, NBT said Monday it had about $800,000 in merger-related expenses for the quarter, which reduced diluted earnings by 2 cents per share.

For the quarter ended June 30, NBT reported net income of $13.3 million, down $1.4 million, or 9.5 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago.

NBT said it gained $217 million in loans through the Hampshire First acquisition. Hampshire First operates five branches in southern New Hampshire.

NBT President and CEO Martin Dietrich said in a statement, 'We are also encouraged by our strong loan growth during the first half of 2012, both organic and from our acquisition of Hampshire First Bank. Organic loan growth was spurred by strong commercial and consumer loan originations in our legacy markets, particularly our upstate New York footprint, as well as from our recent expansion into new markets such as Vermont.'

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Denis Paiste may be reached at dpaiste@unionleader.com.


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