Itron Inc. reported a loss for the first quarter, but tempered the bad news with positive cash flow and record backlogs.
Revenues for the Spokane-based maker of automated meter-reading equipment for the utility industry declined to $40.6 million from $48.1 million for the same period last year.
The company recorded a net loss of $3.3 million, or 24 cents per share, compared with a gain of $3 million, or 21 cents per share, last year.
Still, operations generated positive cash flow of $3.5 million.
Itron shipped more than 600,000 meter-reading modules in the first quarters of both 1996 and 1997, but about one-third of this year’s deliveries were made on an outsourcing basis.
Such agreements call for Itron to manufacture, install and read the meters for 15 years.
The result is lower up-front revenues, but greater returns over the life of the contracts.
President Johnny Humphreys said such outsourcing agreements, coupled with unfilled orders, reached a record $103 million at March 31.
The earnings were released Tuesday after markets were closed for the day. Itron shares declined 62 cents to close at $20.
Spokeswoman Mima Scarpelli noted the results were slightly better than analysts had expected.
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