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Company Notebook

United Financial Bancorp Announces Acquisition

WEST SPRINGFIELD — United Financial Bancorp Inc., the holding company for United Bank, and New England Bancshares Inc., the holding company for New England Bank, recently announced the execution of a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which United Financial Bancorp will acquire New England Bancshares in a transaction currently valued at approximately $91 million, based on United Financial Bancorp’s 20-day volume-weighted average stock price of $15.89 per share as of May 30, 2012 and excluding shares used to terminate New England Bank’s employee stock ownership plan. United Financial Bancorp’s acquisition of New England Bancshares will add approximately $726.5 million in total assets, $557.9 million in gross loans, and $581.6 million in total deposits before acquisition-accounting adjustments. The transaction will expand United Financial Bancorp’s presence into Hartford, Tolland, New Haven, and Litchfield counties in Connecticut, where New England Bank operates 15 full-service banking offices and two administrative offices. Under the terms of the definitive merger agreement, at the effective time of the merger, each share of New England Bancshares common stock will be converted into the right to receive 0.9575 of a share of United Financial Bancorp common stock. The consideration received by New England Bancshares stockholders is intended to qualify as a tax-free transaction. United Financial Bancorp expects the transaction to be immediately accretive to its earnings per share, excluding one-time transaction expenses. The transaction represents 163% of New England Bancshares’ tangible book value and a core deposit premium of 7.4% at March 31. Richard Collins, chairman of the board, president, and CEO of United Financial Bancorp, said that “we are very pleased to announce our plans to partner with New England Bancshares. This combination presents a tremendous opportunity to expand our presence in Connecticut, where United Bank does not currently maintain any branches. Connecticut is an attractive and growing banking market, and one we have had our eye on for some time. Like us, New England Bancshares has deep roots in the communities it serves, and we look forward to introducing our brand of banking to this region. We believe the strategic value of this transaction will enhance our franchise and add value to our stockholders’ investment. We are excited about the future of our combined company.” David O’Connor, president and CEO of New England Bancshares, said, “we feel that this merger is an excellent opportunity for our customers and the communities we serve. Partnering with United Bank will allow us to continue providing our customers with a high level of personalized service and local decision making while preserving our community-bank atmosphere.” The transaction, which has been approved by the board of directors of both New England Bancshares and United Financial Bancorp, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2012. T


Research Spending Up 7% at UMass Amherst

AMHERST — According to UMass President Robert L. Caret’s office, research spending at the Amherst campus of UMass is up 7% over last year, while research spending at the five-campus system is up more than 8%. The funds, which helped the Amherst school reach a total of $181.3 million in research spending, come mostly from federal grants, with some private corporations also contributing to research projects. According to a report prepared by the UMass Office of Institutional Research, the university as a whole spent $586.7 million in fiscal 2011, up from $542.7 million in fiscal 2010. Some money on the Amherst campus has been spent developing new radar systems to provide earlier warnings of severe weather events such as tornadoes and hurricanes, while other funds were spent on nanotechnology.


Universal Plastics Acquired

HOLYOKE — The father-son team of Sunil and Jay Kumar has acquired Universal Plastics from the Peters family, pledging to serve as on-site managers and grow the business as the Whiting Farms Road company, founded in 1966 by James R. Peters, transitions from one family ownership group to another. Terms of the sale were not made public. Universal Plastics has gross annual sales of approximately $10 million, employs 70 people, and manufactures thermoforming plastics that include custom containers, protective covers, and enclosures for many large companies including Pratt & Whitney, General Electric, and BE Aerospace. The company also does work for the U.S. military. The new owners plan to keep senior management in place at the company and hope to expand and grow the product line. The Kumars also plan to serve as on-site owners and managers of the business. Sunil Kumar has an extensive background in manufacturing, having previously worked as president and CEO of International Specialty Products and GAF Materials Corp., and as executive vice president and member of the board of Bridgestone/Firestone Tires. His son Jay, who will join him in ownership, is a graduate of Cornell University and has worked extensively in the investment arena, most recently as managing principal at PAON LLC. According to Joseph Peters, president of Universal Plastics, closing on the sale of the business occurred this week, and the new ownership group has already reached out to many of Universal’s customers to inform them of the acquisition. Peters and his brothers Michael and Richard serve as senior managers of the company and will stay on for the foreseeable future to ensure a smooth transition.


HMC Earns Accreditation from Joint Commission

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Medical Center has earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for accreditation by demonstrating compliance with the commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety in hospitals. The accreditation award recognizes Holyoke Medical Center’s dedication to continuous compliance with the Joint Commission’s state-of-the-art standards. The medical center underwent a rigorous, unannounced on-site survey in January. A team of Joint Commission expert surveyors conducted a full evaluation for compliance with standards of care specific to the needs of patients, including infection prevention and control, leadership, and medication management. “In achieving Joint Commission accreditation, Holyoke Medical Center has demonstrated its commitment to the highest level of care for its patients,” said Mark Pelletier, executive director of Hospital Programs, Accreditation, and Certification Services for the Joint Commission.

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