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Wed., Jan. 25, 2012

Stock sale agreement to fund Panhandle

The holding company of Panhandle State Bank has struck a deal to raise $47.3 million through the sale of stock. The money will be used to fortify the Sandpoint-based company’s balance sheet.

The money also puts Panhandle in a position to loan more money to its customers across Idaho and Eastern Washington.

Investment companies Castle Creek Capital Partners IV LP and Stadium Capital Management LLC, along with several unnamed investors, have agreed to buy shares in Panhandle’s parent company, Intermountain Community Bancorp.

The deal gives Castle Creek and Stadium each a 33.3 percent equity ownership stake for their combined $36 million portion of the capital raised by the bank.

The deal gives Castle Creek a 9.9 percent voting equity in Intermountain. Stadium acquires a 14.9 percent voting stake. Both companies will designate one person to serve on the bank’s board of directors.

The bank is selling the common shares at $1 each. Also, the bank agreed to issue warrants to the investment companies to buy 850,000 shares of non-voting common stock for $1 per share at a later date.

Intermountain had attempted unsuccessfully to raise capital last year.

“The capital raise represents an important step forward, putting a strong foundation under our plans for the future,” said Curt Hecker, bank chief executive officer, in the press release.

John Stucke

Energy imports push Japan trade deficit

TOKYO – Japan reported its first annual trade deficit since 1980 as it imported expensive energy to offset shortfalls caused by the devastating tsunami and manufacturers shifted production overseas to avoid the damage inflicted by the strong yen.

The 2.49 trillion yen ($32 billion) deficit for 2011 reflects a 2.7 percent decline in the value of Japan’s exports to 65.55 trillion yen ($843 billion). In December, the trade balance was a deficit of 205.1 billion yen, according to the Ministry of Finance figures released Wednesday.

“It reflects fundamental changes in Japan’s economy, particularly among manufacturers,” said Hideki Matsumura, senior economist at Japan Research Institute. “Japan is losing its competitiveness to produce domestically.”

The yen’s surge to record levels against the dollar has made Japanese exports more expensive and also erodes the value of foreign earned income when brought home. Currency levels have forced manufacturers including Nissan Motor Co. and Panasonic Corp. to shift some of their output to factories overseas.

At the same time, Japan is facing intense competition from South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, where labor and production costs are cheaper.

Associated Press


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