In brief: Itron revenue dipped in 2009

Liberty Lake-based Itron Inc. posted fourth-quarter income of $5.2 million, or 13 cents per share, more than double last year’s $2.2 million and 6 cents per share.The utility meter maker and software and services provider posted a year-end loss of $2.2 million and 6 cents per share, compared with income of $19.8 million and 57 cents per share in the previous year.

Revenue for 2009 was $1.7 billion, down from $1.9 billion in 2008.

Fourth-quarter sales were $476.8 million, compared with $432.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Itron officials noted that one-time charges in the fourth quarter affected earnings; without the charges, net income would have been $33.5 million, or 82 cents per share.

The net loss in 2009 was primarily due to lower revenue, contraction of gross margins and debt reduction, the company said in a press release.

Tom Sowa

Hecla beats 2008 in net income

Hecla Mining Co. reported net income of $54.2 million for 2009, compared to an $80.2 million loss in 2008, officials reported Wednesday.

Strengthening metals prices in the fourth quarter helped Hecla attain record cash flows of $115 million for the year. The company produced 10.9 million ounces of silver in 2009, which also was a record.

The Lucky Friday Mine near Mullan, Idaho, produced 3.5 million ounces of silver last year, a 23 percent increase over 2008 production. Phil Baker, Hecla’s CEO, said the company was planning for long-term infrastructure improvements at the mine. The work will extend the mine’s operating life through at least 2028.

Other 2009 highlights included the repayment of $161.7 million in bank debt, including loans for the 2008 purchase of the Greens Creek Mine in Alaska, Baker said.

Becky Kramer

Intermountain posts loss in ’09

Intermountain Community Bancorp reported Wednesday a $23 million loss for 2009, a reversal of fortune for the Sandpoint-based holder of four bank subsidiaries.

The loss to common stockholders was $2.75 per share. The bank earned $1.2 million, or 15 cents per share, in 2008.

Intermountain lost $8.4 million, $1 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with a loss of $2.9 million, or 35 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2008.

The 2009 results included a $36.3 million provision for loan losses. Total loans fell almost 13 percent compared with 2008.

Intermountain owns Panhandle State Bank, Magic Valley Bank, Intermountain Community Bank and Intermountain Community Bank Washington.

Assets as of Dec. 30, 2009, declined slightly 0from a year earlier, to $1.08 billion.

Bert Caldwell

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