New in Town



Corrections or additions?

These stories by Peter Mladineo and Barbara Fox were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper

on April 22, 1998. All rights reserved.

Life in the Fast Lane

While the big bank mergers are continuing to make headlines,

small banks are continuing to fill their coffers with fancy moves.

Last week Trenton Savings Bank made $238 million in a stock sale converting

it from a mutual thrift into a publicly held bank. This week, 1st

Constitution Bank, the community bank located on Route 130 in Cranbury,

announced a two-pronged secondary stock offering expected to raise

between $2.5 and $4 million.

This transaction will have two parts: The first is a shareholder rights

offering, which will give current 1st Constitution shareholders the

rights to purchase one share for each share currently owned through

May 15. Simultaneously shares will be sold to the general public.

Overall a total of 250,000 shares will be offered for $12.25 per share.

If necessary, the board of directors will increase the size of the

offering to 350,000 shares. "We’re trying to broaden the number

of shareholders that we have," says Robert E. Mangano, the president

and CEO. "It’s the best of both worlds in that we are certainly

not excluding our existing shareholders but are looking for new shareholders."

1st Constitution was formed in 1989, and raised capital then by issuing

roughly 700,000 shares of stock, which are now traded over-the-counter

on the Electronic Bulletin Board under the symbol FCCY. Shares are

currently selling for $11.50. "We started to trade on the electronic

bulletin board at year-end," says Mangano. "It enables our

shareholders to look it up and get a price. It’s just another way

to keep your shareholders informed."

Since Mangano came aboard in September of 1996, 1st Constitution has

grown from $73 million in size to roughly $100 million. This week

it reported an 84 percent increase in net income in the first quarter

of 1998 compared to the same period in 1997. The higher earnings were

because of an expansion of the net interest income, a result of a

30 percent increase in loans for the first quarter of 1998.

"In the last year or so we have substantially improved the profitability

of the company," says Mangano. "That growth and the improvement

in earnings has really prompted the view of the capital offering."

Mangano, 52, has degrees from St. John’s University (Class of ’78)

and Rutgers University’s Stonier Graduate School of Banking (Class

of ’80). He spent the first 21 years of his career at Midlantic Bank

(now PNC Bank) in Garrett Mountain (Passaic County). Next came a stint

running Urban National Bank, a $200 million community bank based in

Franklin Lakes. Three years later that bank was sold to a larger bank,


1st Constitution will use the money to expand into Middlesex, Mercer,

and Somerset counties, says Mangano, although its small size gives

it a prized agility in these merger-intensive times. As the larger

banks in the area continue consolidating, he explains, certain service

niches are being ignored, a condition that creates niches in areas

like consumer and small business banking. For investors, these conditions

are making community bank stocks very attractive.

For example, Unity Bancorp, the Clinton-based parent company of First

Community Bank, just received a buy recommendation from First Colonial

Securities Group, a Marlton-based investment group that follows community

banks in New Jersey. "It’s no longer looked at as just a cyclical,

staid-type business," says Michael Golden, the president and CEO

of First Colonial Securities and the former vice chairman of Carnegie

Bank. "It has become more of a growth business. That has happened

because the banking laws have been relaxed by the fed over the last

four or five years. Therefore since it’s not as cyclical, the P-E

(price to earnings) ratios have started to climb and the stocks themselves

have started to move out of an old range."

"I think that the strategy that large banks have followed really

incorporates working on larger transactions and the amount of staff

that they have that’s dedicated pretty much focuses on those large

transactions so that there’s a portion of the market that gets overlooked,"

says Mangano. "And on the consumer end you will generally find

smaller banks usually charge less for their service and pay higher

rates on their interest product. The individual has access to senior

management in a smaller bank. You can generally give people answers

quickly because you operate efficiently."

— Peter J. Mladineo

1st Constitution Bank, 2650 Route 130 North, Cranbury

08512-0634. Robert F. Mangano, president and CEO. 609-655-4500;

fax, 609-655-5653.

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New in Town

Bridge Associates International, 10 Wall Street,

Princeton 08540. Norman T. George, managing partner. 609-688-0888;

fax, 609-688-0802.

Four alumni from Hoechst Marion Roussel have opened a management consulting

firm in 1,350 square feet in Research Park. They are Roy T. Cherris,

formerly head of microbiological laboratories; E. Ericson, Ph.D, formerly

in charge for US quality operations; Norman George, a strategic director

also with Hoechst; and Louis G. Pavloff, Hoechst Marion Roussel’s

former vice president of operations.

The firm’s specialties include the purchasing, testing, and production,

and distribution of current good management processes, regulatory

compliance, new product launches, facilities planning, and process


Top Of Page

Merrill Lynch, 800 Scudders Mill Road, Box 9024, Princeton 08543, Harry Ferguson, first vice

president, corporate real estate. 609-282-4201; fax: 609-282-4250.

Merrill Lynch may eventually expand to Hopewell, but in the meantime

it has signed another long-term lease at College Park. Its real estate

division has just announced it will move from Scudder’s Mill Road to a

54,000 square foot building formerly occupied by Rhone Poulenc. Sab

Russo of CB Commercial and Robert Herzog of Merrill Lynch represented

the financial firm, and Vince Marano and Tom Stange of National

Business Parks represented College Road Associates in negotiating the

long term lease.

Merrill Lynch has a conditional deal to buy 450 acres in Hopewell from Bristol-Myers Squibb. While Merrill officials are

wrangling with municipal leaders over sewer requirements, the brokerage obviously has more immediate expansion needs.

Remodeling of 103 College Road has begun with the installation of a new granite-clad lobby and specially designed

chandeliers and wall sconces.

Built in 1982, this property listed for $32,250 gross rent per month

($21.50 to $23.50 per foot, based on a 10-year lease) last fall, and

now only minuscule spaces remain empty in the 11-building park.

Alta Technologies, 8 Ilene Court, Hillsborough

Industrial Park, Box 720, Belle Mead 08502. Percy Leaper, president.

908-359-7990; fax, 908-359-0720.

A Belle Mead-based factory owner has announced he will

move to a new 12,000 square foot facility on Reed Road, just north

of I-95. P&P Properties LLC, which is associated with Alta Technologies,

bought a three-acre site from Lovero Construction last June.

The 11-year-old firm is expected to consolidate several facilities

at the new building, designed by Allentown-based G.A. Fett, and to

add some several jobs to the current seven. In addition to the current

buildings on Ilene Court there is a small operation off of Route 31

in Pennington. Percy Leaper — who is joined in the business by

his daughter and son-in-law — says he plans to move on or about

June 1.

Though Reed Road is home to such parks as Hopewell Industrial Park

and Cardinal Business Park and has such high-tech manufacturing tenants

as Ocean Power Technologies and Diversatech, this facility is on the

Lovero property next to a private home. Paul Goldman of Commercial

Property Network represented buyer and seller. Alta’s basic product

is manufactured in Kentucky, and the Pennington operation will serve

as a finishing plant. Alta Technologies makes protective jacketing

for wire and cable harnesses, industrial hoses, and braided sleevings

used for medical devices. These sleevings are made of plastic monofilaments

and are used for the auto, aerospace, dispensing, electronic, and

marine industries, as well as for medical purposes.

Leaper grew up in suburban Philadelphia, Delaware County, where his

father was vice president of a chemical company. He went to Johns

Hopkins, Class of 1958, and is active on biomedical development committees

there. He has been president of Dale Tech, a manufacturer of extruded

tubing on Route 1 North, vice president of Netvar in Woodbridge, product

manager at AMP in Harrisburg, and most recently part-owner and vice

president of marketing for Voltube Corporation, a manufacturer of

fiberglass coated sleevings in Edison.

"We developed techniques for finishing the product in an extremely

round form which greatly facilitated the application of the material

over wire harnesses," says Leaper, who estimates his firm is either

second or third in market share, with competitors including Bentley

Harris, located outside of Philadelphia, and Colorado-based Western


He handles sales, marketing and administration, while his son in law

runs the manufacturing, and his daughter is in charge of the office.

"We try to keep a low overhead approach to the business, but we

definitely needed to grow and consolidate."

Nettech Systems Inc., 600 Alexander Road, Princeton

08540. Boris Fridman, president. 609-734-0300; fax, 609-683-5019.

E-mail: Home page:

The developer of wireless communications software moved to 7,600 at

600 Alexander Road from 4,750 square feet at from 158 Wall Street,

Research Park. The staff size has increased from approximately 20

to 35 employees. Tamara Kanoc, Nettech’s marketing manager, explains

that the wireless data communications market has expanded over the

last year. "And we’ve also increased our customer based over 50

percent in the last year," she says.

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Bryant Walworth, 78, on April 13. He retired from American

Cyanamid in 1990 after 43 years.

Elaine B. Shevack, 52, on April 13. She was head teller

for the Pennington office of Trenton Savings Bank.

Margaret Norwood, 61, on April 13. She was a lab technician

with St. Francis Medical Center.

Frances Clark, 93, on April 17. She co-founded the New

School for Music Study on Main Street in Kingston and produced a library

of materials for piano students.

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— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

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