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High demand helps Itron post record revenue

Thu., July 31, 2008

Utility metering company Itron Inc. reported record quarterly revenue of $514 million for the three months ending in June, even as it announced a separate large contract with a San Diego utility for its next-generation technology.

Executives of the Liberty Lake-based corporation attributed the strong quarter, and increased year-to-date revenue of $992.4 million, partly to better-than-expected demand and accelerated orders.

Itron posted net income of $13.12 million, or 37 cents a share. That compares with a net loss of $23.88 million, or 79 cents a share, last year, largely due to its acquisition of European competitor Actaris last spring.

While the global and U.S. economic climate is in “questionable territory,” Itron chairman and CEO LeRoy Nosbaum told analysts Wednesday that 2008 “is shaping up to be a very, very nice year for Itron both in terms of contract announcements and in terms of our own financial performance.”

The company increased its revenue guidance for the rest of the year by about $30 million, anticipating $1.91 billion to $1.95 billion.

Itron also announced an agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric to upgrade its 2.3 million electric and gas meters with Itron’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure technology, which allows two-way communication between utilities and household meters. That contract – worth roughly $260 million – still requires approval by the California Public Utilities Commission.

The deal is “particularly exciting” because it’s a “turnkey” project in which Itron will install the system, said Philip Mezey, Itron’s senior vice president for North America. If approved, full deployment would begin in February and should be completed by mid-2011, he said.

“Progress may go slower than hoped for, but these things do finally get done, and there is great potential in AMI,” Nosbaum said.

About 68 percent, or $349 million, of company revenue came from Actaris, where income surpassed company expectations by about $14 million because of the strength of foreign currency, said Malcolm Unsworth, Itron’s president and chief operating officer.

After falling slightly in afternoon trading, Itron shares rose $4.53 in after-hours trading, to $96.

Reach Parker Howell at (509) 459-5491 or at

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