Itron Inc. Monday purchased a North Carolina maker of software used by utilities and major industrial customers to measure and manage energy use.
Shareholders of privately held Utility Translation Systems Inc. will receive 971,428 shares of Itron stock that, at Monday’s closing price of $50, is worth $48.6 million.
The deal will increase the number of shares of Itron stock outstanding to 14.2 million, but Itron Treasurer Mima Scarpelli said there should be no dilution of earnings.
UTS employs about 50, she said, and should report revenues between $5 million and $7 million when the books for 1995 are closed.
The company, while remaining in Raleigh, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Spokane-based Itron, which already has domestic plants in Minnesota and California, and overseas operations in the United Kingdom, France and Australia.
Itron manufactures remote meter-reading and automation equipment for residential, commercial and light industrial customers.
Scarpelli said the acquisition of UTS will expand the company’s product line into heavy industry, where a relatively small number of customers can generate a disproportionate share of a utility’s revenues.
“Utilities are very interested in keeping that group of customers happy,” she said.
In the future, Scarpelli said, businesses that use large amounts of energy will be able to bypass local utilities if they do not receive the services they need to keep costs down.
UTS has about 350 utility accounts, in addition to industrial customers, making the company the largest serving those markets, she said.
Itron, which reported $155.4 million in revenues last year, is the largest company in the residential meter-reading market.
Scarpelli said past cooperation between Itron and UTS should facilitate integration of their products and operations.
“It is our goal to be the first to offer utilities a single source for all of their meter-reading requirements,” said Itron President Johnny Humphries.
UTS President Ed White noted the companies have worked together eight years.