Hampshire First, NBT banks merge
MANCHESTER — Hampshire First Bank is officially part of NBT Bank after the banks announced the successful completion of their merger.
Effective at the close of business on Friday, Hampshire First Bank is now a division of NBT Bank, an independent community bank based in upstate New York.
The five banking centers operated by Hampshire First Bank in Manchester, Londonderry, Nashua, Keene and Portsmouth will continue to do business under the Hampshire First name, the company said.
Hampshire First CEO James Dunphy will remain with the bank in the role of New Hampshire regional president.
“NBT Bank is a community bank, first and foremost,” Dunphy said in a prepared statement. “Through our partnership with NBT, our team of local banking professionals will continue to apply our local knowledge and decision-making skills to serve the needs of our customers and communities in southern New Hampshire. We have also gained access to the resources of a larger organization, giving us the ability to provide expanded services to our customers.”
NBT Bank President and CEO Martin Dietrich said it is “the first time we have had the opportunity to welcome a bank's founding CEO into our ranks following a merger. We look forward to working with Jim and his team in southern New Hampshire.”
NBT offers services through a network of 137 banking locations in five states, including 97 locations in upstate New York, northwestern Vermont and western Massachusetts. NBT's Pennstar Bank division operates from 35 locations in northeastern Pennsylvania.
NBT Bancorp Inc. (www.nbtbank.com and www.nbtbancorp.com) is headquartered in Norwich, N.Y., with assets of $5.8 billion as of March 31, 2012. It is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol NBTB.
Gym chain planning to go public this year
NEW YORK — The unconventional but fast-growing Planet Fitness gym chain — headquartered in Newington, N.H. — is looking to hire bankers before going public later this year, with a reported operating profit margin of around 25 percent and annual revenue of nearly $160 million, according to a report in a New York Post article on the Fox online news network.
Planet Fitness has with more than 500 locations, and offers some of the lowest membership fees in the sector, with plans costing up to $20 a month, no contracts and very limited service.
Company revenue was $157 million in 2012, according to an industry estimate, and the company spends less than 25 percent of expenses on personnel, while competitors are paying more than 40 percent, according to the report on www.myfoxphilly.com.
As a result, Planet Fitness has operating profit margins of about 25 percent, according to industry analysts, who said the question for underwriters in the company's pre-IPO status is how sustainable the business model is.
Inc. magazine put Planet Fitness on its list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies based on the gym's 216 percentage revenue growth from 2007 to 2010.
The chain also got a marketing boost by being the featured gym on NBC's “The Biggest Loser.”
Applications open for innovation award
MANCHESTER — The New Hampshire High Technology Council is encouraging New Hampshire-based organizations to apply for the 2012 Product of the Year honors.
Finalists and an overall winner will present their innovation to a live audience in November at the seventh annual Product of the Year banquet.
In mid-October, up to five nalists will be selected and awarded the Product of the Year Judges' Award. The finalists will present their products in a trade-show format that includes a seven-minute presentation to a live audience of roughly 300 people on Nov. 13 at SERESC in Bedford.
Applications can be downloaded from the NHHTC website at NHHTC.org. The application deadline is Sept. 27.
LED data series offers info on local labor
CONCORD — New Hampshire Employment Security announced the availability of a Local Employment Dynamics (LED) data series. LED is a voluntary partnership between New Hampshire Employment Security and the U.S. Census Bureau to develop new information about local labor market conditions at low cost.
LED data products include Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI), Industry Focus, and OnTheMap, with various indicators of the performance of local labor markets, for multiple levels of geography, including New Hampshire, metro areas, workforce regions, and counties.
For more information visit www.nhes.nh.gov/elmi/products/led.htm or call 228-4124.
Business Round Table set for June 19
ROCHESTER — The city's efforts to reach out to the business community continue this month at the second monthly Business Round Table.
Mary Ellen Humphrey, economic development specialist for the City of Rochester, invited the business community to attend the event on Tuesday, June 19 in Council Chambers at City Hall, 31 Wakefield Street.
The Round Table meetings are for discussing public policies that affect doing business in Rochester. Representatives from the various city departments will be present to answer questions and to encourage better communications between the business community and city officials.
The meeting is open to the public. Future regular round table meetings are planned for the third Tuesday of each month. Business owners and managers are encouraged to attend, after emailing an RSVP to Samantha.Rogderson@rochesternh.net or calling 335-7522.
New facility expected to bring 100 jobs
WALTHAM, Mass. — Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., a world leader in medical and life-science technologies and analytic tools, opened a new Center of Excellence for portable analytical instruments in Tewksbury, Mass.
The center currently employs 400, and the company expects to add approximately 100 jobs at the location over the next five years, Thermo Fisher officials said.
The research, development and manufacturing facility opened Monday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, U.S. Senator John Kerry, U.S. Rep. John Tierney and other state and local officials.
The 156,000-square-foot facility is the new home to the company's comprehensive line of Thermo Scientific portable and handheld analytical instruments, including TruScan Raman spectrometers, Niton XL3t GOLDD+ Series X-ray fluorescence spectrometers and TruNarc spectroscopy tools used by law enforcement for the rapid identification of suspected narcotics.
There are now more than 1,400 Thermo Fisher employees in Massachusetts.
SBA plans workshop on selling to the government
BERLIN — Coos County business owners interested in selling to the federal government can learn more about the process during a workshop on June 21 at White Mountains Community College.
The Small Business Administration HUBZone Certification Program offers a competitive advantage in government sales; providing more information about it during the program will be representatives from the SBA and New Hampshire Procurement Technical Assistance Program, offering free training to companies who are eligible for HUBZone certification.
Eligibility includes being a small business in Coos County, owned and managed by U.S. citizens with at least 35 percent of employees residing in a HUBZone, which includes Coos County and Essex and Orleans Counties in Vermont.
The workshop will explain what the program is, what it does for local businesses, whether it makes sense to apply, how to apply for or renew the designation, and how to benefit from the program.
Training will be conducted by Dave Pease of NH-PTAP and Hugh Curley of the U.S. SBA, the HUBZone specialist for the New Hampshire district.
The training will be held from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at White Mountain Community College in Berlin.
Admission is free, but registration is required: call 271-7581 or sign up at www.nheconomy.com/sell-to-the-government/training-events.aspx .
Free one-on-one appointments are available with NH-PTAP staff at Twitchell House, across the street from WMCC, from 12:30 to 3 pm. Call 271-7581.