Chittenden Corporation Reports Increased Earnings Per Share, and AnnouncesNew Share Repurchase PlanBurlington, VT Chittenden Corporation (NYSE:CHZ) Chairman, President and Chief ExecutiveOfficer, Paul A. Perrault, today announced higher earnings for the year ended December 31,2006 of $85.5 million or $1.83 per diluted share, compared to $82.0 million or $1.74 per dilutedshare a year ago. For the fourth quarter of 2006, net income was $22.5 million or $0.48 perdiluted share, compared to $21.8 million or $0.46 per diluted share earned in the fourth quarter of2005.In making the announcement, Perrault said, I am pleased to report to shareholders that yourCompanys discipline and strong strategic implementation continues to deliver solid resultsdespite the challenging environment . Chittenden also announced its quarterly dividend of $0.20per share, which will be paid on February 9, 2007, to shareholders of record on January 26,2007.Perrault also announced that the Board of Directors approved a new share repurchase plan onJanuary 17, 2007 for one million shares of the Corporations common stock. The repurchase ofthe common stock may be done in negotiated transactions or open market purchases over thenext two years.FOURTH QUARTER 2006 FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTSÀ‰ Commercial loans increased 7% from the end of 2005.À‰ Average deposits for 2006 increased 4% from 2005 with solid growth in CMA/moneymarket deposits of over 4%.À‰ Net interest margin held steady for 2006 at 4.24% and the fourth quarter increased 6basis points to 4.29%.À‰ Nonperforming assets declined 22% from the third quarter of 2006.À‰ The efficiency ratio improved to 54.6% for the fourth quarter of 2006.À‰ The Company repurchased 762,500 common shares in the fourth quarter and thetangible capital ratio remained over 7.00% at year end.ASSETSThe Companys securities portfolio declined from both the prior year end and on a linked quarterbasis to $1.1 billion. The decrease in securities was primarily utilized to fund loan growth andreduce borrowings. Total loans increased by $210 million from the end of last year to $4.7 billionat December 31, 2006. The Company experienced solid loan growth in 2006 throughout all of itsmarkets with particularly strong increases in its multifamily real estate, commercial real estateand construction portfolios.LIABILITIESTotal deposits decreased $20 million from September 30, 2006 reflecting the start of the normalseasonal decline in deposits, which is primarily driven by the operating cycles of the Companysmunicipal and commercial customers. Borrowings at December 31, 2006, were $210 million, adecrease of $17 million from the end of last year due to lower FHLB advances.NET INTEREST INCOMETax-equivalent net interest income for the fourth quarter of 2006 was $64.0 million, compared to$63.7 million for the same quarter of 2005 and $63.5 million for the third quarter of 2006. Theincrease in net interest income from the same period a year ago was due to higher averageearning assets, which was partially offset by a slightly lower net interest margin. The Companysnet interest margin for the fourth quarter was 4.29%, an increase of 6 basis points from the thirdquarter of 2006 and a decline of 1 basis point from the same period a year ago. The increase innet interest margin from the third quarter of 2006 was attributable to higher interest recoveries onformer non-performing loans. The decline in the net interest margin from the fourth quarter of2005 was due to an increase in funding costs, which was partially offset by an increase in theyield on interest earning assets. The increase in funding costs was driven by strong competitionfor both commercial and consumer deposits as well as increases in the federal funds rate in2005 and 2006.NONINTEREST INCOMENoninterest income was $17.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2006, compared with $16.1 millionfor the third quarter and $17.4 million for the same period a year ago. The increase in noninterestincome was primarily attributable to higher investment management and trust fees and othernoninterest income, which was partially offset by lower gains on the sales of mortgage loans.The increase in other noninterest income from the fourth quarter of 2005 was primarily due to$1.1 million received in relation to the Companys interest in a mortgage insurance captive, whichwas partially offset by higher amortization on investments in low income housing limitedpartnerships.NONINTEREST EXPENSENoninterest expenses were $46.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2006, compared to $46.0million for the fourth quarter of 2005. The increase from the same quarter a year ago is primarilya result of higher salary expense which related to increased share-based compensation costsand new branch openings in 2006. The Company recognized $785,000 of share-basedcompensation in the fourth quarter of 2006 as compared to $4,000 in the same quarter a yearago.INCOME TAXESThe effective income tax rates for 2006 were 31.5% for the fourth quarter and 32.1% for the fullyear compared with 34.2% and 34.5%, respectively, for the same periods in 2005. The lowereffective income tax rate was attributable to higher low-income housing and historic rehabilitationtax credits.CREDIT QUALITYThe provision for credit losses was $2.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2006 compared to $1.4million for the same quarter of 2005. The increase in the provision for credit losses from thecomparable period in 2005 was primarily due to higher net charge offs and nonperforming loans.Net charge-offs as a percentage of average loans were 4 basis points for the fourth quarter.hittenden Corporation of 2006, up from 2 basis points for the same quarter a year ago. The increase in net charge-offsprimarily relates to one commercial finance loan that was placed on non-accrual status in the firstquarter of 2006. The allowance for credit losses as a percentage of total loans excludingmunicipal loans was 1.39% at December 31, 2006 compared to 1.43% for the fourth quarter of2005.
Technology Firm Serving National Power Utilities Lands Job Creation IncentivesMica paper manufacturer also approved; two firms could create 34 new jobsMONTPELIER, Vt. – A utility-focused risk management company and the last mica paper maker in the US have been approved for over $700,000 worth of incentives that could produce 34 new jobs over the next five years.At its recent meeting, the Vermont Economic Progress Council gave initial approval to incentives for Utility Risk Management Corporation (URMC) to move their utility-focused risk management company from Pennsylvania to Vermont and add new jobs.In addition, the council gave final approval to an application from Isovolta, Inc. to ensure an expansion of their mica paper manufacturing operation in Rutland instead of adding capacity at one of their many international locations.”These projects will create good new jobs around the state and will have substantial impacts on other valuable sectors such as energy transmission,” said Karen L. Marshall, Chairwoman of the Vermont Economic Progress Council.”The decision by URMC to locate in Stowe will mean high-paying jobs for engineers and GIS foresters with a high-tech, fast growing company,” Marshall said.URMC improves the reliability and productivity of utility companies by identifying, prioritizing and managing vegetative threats to electrical transmission and distribution assets, and then auditing the removal of those threats.This service helps utilities achieve greater compliance with federal mandates for vegetation management and prevent power outages. Because of the incentives authorized, URMC is deciding to relocate the company to Stowe and add several new jobs including engineers and GIS foresters to grow the company to meet the demands of the industry.”We are excited about our move to Vermont as URMC enters its next phase of growth,” said Adam Rousselle, URMC President. “For a fast growing company like URMC, the ability to find quality, technically savvy professionals is a keystone of our future success. Vermont offered the opportunity and environment to find the right people for our business. These incentives will help us grow our business and create jobs for our neighbors.”The company has already scheduled two job fairs on Friday, July 18th and Saturday, July 19th at Ye Old England Inne, 433 Mountain Road in Stowe. For more information on the job fair visit www.utilityrisk.com(link is external)Under the new Vermont Employment Growth Incentive (VEGI) program, the two companies are eligible to receive a maximum of $708,334 in job creation incentives if they meet payroll, employment and capital investment targets.”The decision by Isovolta to expand in Rutland will not only add much needed jobs to that area, but helps guarantee the viability of that plant when decisions are made by Isovolta AG, the parent company,” Marshall said.Isovolta, Inc, a division of Isovolta AG of Austria, produces mica paper for use in high voltage insulation products. It is the last remaining mica paper manufacturing plant in the United States.Isovolta AG produces various materials in 21 locations worldwide. Because of the incentives, Isovolta decided to add employees and install new manufacturing equipment in the Rutland facility.”These incentives will help us expand our operations in Rutland and create jobs,” said Jonathan Roberts, CEO of Isovolta. “This is an investment in our success as well as the community’s and the state’s.”Under reforms passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Jim Douglas in 2006, the VEGI economic incentives were authorized based on job creation and capital investments that must occur before the company receives incentive installments over a period of years.The previous program had companies earning tax credits that were applied against future tax liability.The Council approved the applications after reviewing nine guidelines and applying a rigorous cost-benefit analysis which showed that because of the economic activity that will be generated by these projects, even after payment of the incentives the State will realize a minimum net increase in revenues of $498,484.The Council also determined that these projects would not occur or would occur in a significantly different and less desirable manner if not for the incentives being authorized.The Vermont Economic Progress Council is an independent board consisting of nine Vermont citizens appointed by the governor that considers applications to the state’s economic incentive programs.The Council is attached to the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, whose mission is to help Vermonters improve their quality of life and build strong communities.For more information, visit:www.thinkvermont.com/vepc(link is external)www.utilityrisk.com(link is external)www.isovolta.us(link is external)-30-
Ultramotive Corporation, a Bethel-based company in the field of pressurized dispensing technology, recently launched the environmentally-friendly EarthSafe Air Power System, a breakthrough replacement for traditional aerosol cans, as part of its latest global environmental initiative.The EarthSafe Air Power System uses compressed air as a propellant instead of the customary hydrocarbon gases. The System, the brainchild of Ultramotive founder and President Chris Scheindel, features an innovative valve system, Delbar Piston, and EarthSafe Sealing Plug. Where traditional aerosol cans contained a mixture of the product and hydrocarbon gases sprayed indiscriminately through the nozzle, EarthSafe Air Power System separates the product from the air pressure below that propels it through an innovative valve system.It is an inexpensive packaging option for the industry in a country where hydrocarbons contribute to air pollution and linger in the environment.
The town of Grafton and the Vermont Country Store in Chester are open for business in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Vermont, which sustained infrastructure damage in the millions from Tropical Storm Irene, has made a remarkable and unprecedented three-week ‘comeback’ in time to host an estimated 3 million leaf peepers for fall foliage season, which begins next week. This is an incredible story of overcoming adversity, of communities, private businesses and individuals coming together to put this area back together.The video below includes footage of the Old Tavern at Grafton Inn, Grafton Village Cheese, Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center and other businesses in the village.On September 16, Governor Peter Shumlin and other state officials celebrated the re-opening of picturesque Route 4, one of the state’s major leaf peeping corridors to provide full east-west access for a narrow season that generates $300+ million each year, a quarter of Vermont’s annual tourism revenue. Vermont’s tourism-driven businesses (resorts, inns/b&bs and restaurants) will share in the celebration too, as a large majority were unaffected or sustained little damage from Tropical Storm Irene.‘I toured the road and infrastructure repair areas yesterday with Doug and John Casella, owners of Casella Construction, and was amazed by the determination, hard work and progress made by road repair crews,’ said Bill Shouldice, president & CEO of The Vermont Country Store. ‘It made me proud to be a Vermonter. Thanks to the commitment and selflessness of construction companies like Belden, Casella, Markowski, Mosher, Wilk and many others all working together, Vermont is now open for business and ready to serve the millions of visitors that come to our great state during the fall. Their efforts and those of countless others will help Vermont avoid economic disaster!’Among those ready is The Vermont Country Store, a landmark that attracts nearly 300,000 fall foliage visitors. The business’ two retail locations ‘ the Weston store on Route 100 and the Rockingham store just off exit 6 of I-91 ‘ experienced no storm-related disruption in its operations. Store owners, brothers Cabot, Eliot and Gardner Orton, have seen traffic and sales gradually increasing and are optimistic as visitors have begun returning for the fall. ‘Vermont is open for business and The Vermont Country Store has remained ready to serve the needs of its customers, especially those making the trip to see peak foliage,’ said Eliot. ‘Vermonters are a resourceful and determined people, and we are committed to making this fall’s visitor experience better than ever.’ About The Vermont Country StoreIn 1946, Vrest and Ellen Orton printed their first catalogue’just 12 pages and 36 products’and mailed it to the folks on their Christmas card list and sixty-five years later continues to be Orton family owned. As Purveyors of The Practical and Hard to Find, The Vermont Country Store operates as a multichannel merchant through its mailed catalogs, e-commerce web site and two retail stores in Weston and Rockingham, Vermont. For more information, visit www.VermontCountryStore.com(link is external).The Grafton video shows the world know that Grafton is open for business and is ready to welcome visitors far and wide to the amazing fall foliage season here in Southern Vermont. All main roads to enter Grafton are fully functional; via I-91 through Chester; from the south via Route 30 in Townshend.; and from the East & West via Route 121 from Bellows Fallsand Londonderry. Source: MANCHESTER CENTER, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE) Vermont Country Store. Windham Foundation.