Business Irish

Saturday 21 October 2017

Toshiba to exit former O'Reilly meter business

Toshiba is considering listing the business in Switzerland or a potential trade sale. Photo: AP
Toshiba is considering listing the business in Switzerland or a potential trade sale. Photo: AP

Alice Baghdjian

Toshiba is considering an initial public offering in Switzerland of the Landis+Gyr smart-metering company business it bought six years ago from investors led by Irish executive Cameron O'Reilly.

The sale is to raise much-needed cash to bankroll the Japanese group's own turnaround. Irish-Australian investor Cameron O'Reilly led the earlier $2.3bn sale of Landis+Gyr to Toshiba in 2011, having taken control of the Swiss business through his Bayard Capital investment business. Cameron O'Reilly is a son of Tony O'Reilly Snr, the former Heinz and INM boss, who was an early backer of Bayard Capital. He built up the Landis+Gyr business, including through acquisitions, before exiting in a deal that valued his own 7pc stake at $140m.

Landis+Gyr, which has its headquarters in Switzerland, makes equipment to track household power consumption - so-called 'smart meters' - and is just one among several assets that Toshiba has put up for sale as it tries to make up for multibillion-dollar losses at its Westinghouse nuclear-energy unit. The company selected a Japanese-led group last month as preferred bidders for its prized memory-chip business.

An IPO on the SIX Swiss Exchange is one of several options on the table and a sale of the business remains an alternative, the Japanese company said in a stock exchange filing yesterday.

Toshiba is considering listing the business in Switzerland or a potential trade sale.

Managers in Japan are said to have courted acquisition bids for the Swiss subsidiary, which had been expected to fetch about $2bn (€1.75bn). CVC Capital Partners and Hitachi had made a joint offer to buy Landis+Gyr from Toshiba and Innovation Network of Japan, according to a person familiar with the matter.

"No decisions have been made with regard to either the IPO or the dual-track potential trade sale," Landis+Gyr CEO Richard Mora said. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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