N.H. stocks turn in a lackluster 2005



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Shares in New Hampshire-based publicly held companies decreased by an average of 12.4 percent for the year of 2005, according to the end-of-year reading of the New Hampshire Business Review/Chartworth Stock Index. The index’s performance significantly lags the S&P 500, which increased 3.0 percent, and the Nasdaq composite, which increased 1.4 percent. Only seven of the 24 companies in the index were “winners” for the year, meaning that their stock closing price was higher on Dec. 31, 2005, than it was Dec. 31, 2004. Bentley Pharmaceuticals (BNT) topped the list with a 52.7 percent increase in stock price over the year. Bentley, based in Exeter, is a technology-based specialty pharmaceutical and drug delivery company with a growing branded and generic product line in Europe. For the third quarter the company announced growth in revenue and net income of 30 percent and 76 percent, respectively. Micronetics (NOIZ) of Hudson was a close second, showing a 46.6 percent increase in its stock price over the year. The company manufactures microwave and radio frequency components and integrated subassemblies used in defense, aerospace and commercial applications. Micronetics’ net sales increased 33 percent and its net earnings increase 102 percent in the company’s second quarter, which ended Sept. 30, 2005, and received several orders for components used in tactical jamming systems for the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Pennichuck Corp.’s stock performance was a very distant third, notching a 4.5 percent increase in 2005. Of the 17 losers, all but four suffered double-digit decreases. The biggest loser was Storage Computer of Nashua whose stock price dropped to a penny, or 95.7 percent, from its closing price at the end of 2004. For Storage Computer, 2005 was a tough year. The company, a pioneer in RAID storage technology, was delisted from the American Stock Exchange, was late in filing its financials with the Securities and Exchange Commission, announced its intentions to refocus the business on storage management software development rather than hardware manufacturing, and auctioned off its networking hardware-related assets to raise cash. The stock now trades on the Pink Sheets. The NHBR/Chartworth index tracks the change in a blended stock price for a weighted basket of the New Hampshire-based publicly traded companies. At the end of 2005 there were 24. During the third quarter of 2005, three companies were deleted from our index. BayCorp Holdings of Portsmouth operates as an unregulated holding company in oil and gas production and electricity generation. The company was purchased in November 2005 by the Sloan Group, a privately held international business group based in the Bahamas, in a tender offer priced at a 45 percent premium over the current market price. Brookstone, the specialty retailer based in Merrimack, was taken private in October 2005 through its purchase by private equity investors at an approximate 30 percent premium to the market price the day before the acquisition was announced. Brazilian Resources, a development stage company engaged in the discovery and development of mineral properties in Brazil, was voluntarily delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange as a result of a private placement in November 2005. Susan Woods and Howard Smith are principals of Chartworth LLC, a Portsmouth-based corporate finance advisory and investment banking firm. For more information, visit chartworth.com. 2005 NH Stock Price Performance

2005 NH Stock Price Performance

NHBR/chartworth Stock Index % Change 2005:   -8.3%
Nasdaq Composite  2005  % Change:  1.4%
S&P 500  2005  % Change: 3.0%

Stock Price  Stock Price  % Change  2005 Shares Outstand. Mkt. Cap.
Ticker Company Name 12/31/2005 12/31/2004 2005 Rank (millions) (millions)

BNT Bentley Pharmaceuticals Inc. 16.41 10.75 52.70% 1 21.8 $358.40
NOIZ Micronetics Inc. 12.02 8.20 46.60% 2 4.5 $53.80
PNNW Pennichuck Corp. 20.45 19.58 4.50% 3 4.2 $85.70
TBL Timberland Co. 32.55 31.34 3.90% 4 64.9 $2,113.30
NWFI Northway Financial Inc. 34.26 33.35 2.70% 5 1.5 $51.30
SKIL SkillSoft plc 5.68 5.65 0.50% 6 108.2 $614.40
EPG Environmental Power Corp. 7.00 6.97 0.40% 7 9.4 $65.90
FSH Fisher Scientific International Inc. 61.86 62.38 -0.80% 8 122.6 $7,585.70
SXI Standex International Corp. 27.76 28.49 -2.60% 9 12.4 $344.90
PRST Presstek Inc. 9.04 9.68 -6.60% 10 35.4 $319.60
CBNH Community Bank & Trust Co. 29.25 31.50 -7.10% 11 3.4 $98.80
NHTB New Hampshire Thrift Bancshares Inc. 14.74 16.38 -10.00% 12 4.2 $62.20
UTL Unitil Corp. 25.16 28.30 -11.10% 13 5.6 $140.60
WTM White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd. 558.55 646.00 -13.50% 14 10.8 $6,018.40
MNCK Monadnock Community Bancorp Inc. 9.50 11.00 -13.60% 15 0.9 $8.90
OMTL Omtool Ltd. 7.01 8.54 -17.90% 16 4 $27.80
EPAY Bottomline Technologies Inc. 11.02 14.46 -23.80% 17 22.8 $250.80
STKR Stockeryale Inc. 0.96 1.31 -26.70% 18 27.6 $26.50
NSHA Nashua Corp. 7.02 11.36 -38.20% 19 6.2 $43.70
PCCC PC Connection Inc. 5.38 9.52 -43.50% 20 25.2 $135.60
BPTR BrandPartners Group Inc. 0.45 0.95 -52.60% 21 34.3 $15.40
MGOF MangoSoft Inc. 4.00 8.75 -54.30% 22 1 $4.10
ICAD icad Inc. 1.17 4.47 -73.80% 23 36.8 $43.00
SOSO Storage Computer Corp. 0.01 0.23 -95.70% 24 38.9 $0.40
Mean -12.40% $803.00
Median -10.60% $75.80
Source: Chartworth

 

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