(Adds comments from press conference, details about outlook)
By John Miller
ZURICH, July 12 (Reuters) - Swiss firm Landis+Gyr, Toshiba’s smart meters business, reckons it will be valued at up to 2.4 billion Swiss francs ($2.5 billion) in its upcoming share listing and is keen to cut ties with its scandal-hit parent.
Japan’s Toshiba bought a 60 percent stake in Landis+Gyr in 2011 but is having to sell its shares, along with other assets, to raise funds to cover losses at its bankrupt U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse. It is also embroiled in a potentially costly accounting scandal.
“Ever since Toshiba had their financial scandals and their financial problems, we’ve had a parent company that has been paralysed,” said Landis+Gyr Chairman Andreas Umbach at a press conference.
“The quicker we can depart from those problems and focus on our business...the better for our company,” he said.
Landis+Gyr hopes post-IPO independence will enable it to benefit from European utilities’ interest in investing in smart meters to help manage energy, water and gas consumption.
The shares will start trading on the SIX Swiss Exchange on July 21.
The IPO price range was set at 70 francs to 82 francs per share, giving a market value of between 2.1 billion francs and 2.4 billion francs.
Toshiba is selling all of its stake in the business along with 40 percent co-owner Innovation Network Corporation of Japan. Toshiba spurned a $2 billion offer to buy Landis+Gyr from CVC Capital Partners and Hitachi, Reuters has reported.
Landis+Gyr management declined to comment on the possibility of another buyer possibly stepping in at the last minute.
Landis+Gyr’s chief executive Richard Mora said his company should be valued even higher, above U.S.-based rival Itron .
Itron, based in Liberty Lake, Wash., is valued at $2.7 billion on Nasdaq, according to Thomson Reuters data.
“Often we’re compared to Itron...but there are differentiators,” Mora told reporters. “It starts with the installed base -- 60 million connected devices, which is second to none. This is a captive asset for us to continue to sell into.”
For the current year, Landis+Gyr is projecting 3 percent sales growth, from 2016 revenue of $1.67 billion. Ajdusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation will be flat at $212 million, it said.
Two cost-cutting programmes will save $40 million annually by about 2020, Mora said, adding he plans to look only “opportunistically” for acquisitions.
“We don’t have any dark spots in terms of gaps in the portfolio or markets,” he said. “Nor are we looking aggressively to identify targets in the next four years.”
$1 = 0.9622 Swiss francs Editing by Mark Potter and Elaine Hardcastle