Toshiba to raise $2 bn from Swiss smart meter group Landis+Gyr sale

Debt laden Toshiba Corp is seeking to raise at least $2 billion from the sale of its majority stake in Swiss smart meter group Landis+Gyr, to save the group from the impact of a $6.3-billion write-down at its US nuclear business last month.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Reuters yesterday reported that Toshiba had hired UBS to explore a potential sale or initial public offering of Landis+Gyr, which could take place as early as after the European summer.

UBS may approach private equity firms like CVC, Cinven, Advent, KKR, Blackstone, Onex and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice to bid for Landis+Gyr, the report said.

Toshiba initially acquired the whole of Landis+Gyr in 2011 for $2.3 billion and a month later sold a 40-per cent stake to state-backed Innovation Network Corporation of Japan for $680 million.

Founded in 1896 as Elektrotechnisches Institut Theiler & Co in Zug, Switzerland by Richard Theiler, the company changed its name to Landis & Gyr in 1905.

In 1998 Landis & Gyr was acquired by Siemens, and then again spun out in 2002 with a new name: Landis+Gyr.

Landis+Gyr produces smart meters, smart grid equipment and related technology and services, and its around 8,000 customers in more than 30 countries are mainly energy, gas and electricity utility companies.

It expects sales of around $1.64 billion in the fiscal year ending this month.

Toshiba needs to raise funds by the end of March to offset its $6.3-billion writedown on Westinghouse, its US nuclear power business.

If Toshiba's deficits were to exceed its assets as of 31 March, the end of its business year, the company's shares would be moved from the TSE's First Section to the Second Section.

In the event of Toshiba's failure to rectify the situation within a year of that date, its shares would be delisted.

It is also seeking to raise at least 1 trillion ($8.8 billion) from the sale of its majority stake in its flash memory chip business.