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On 19th May 2011, Toshiba announced that it has agreed to buy Swiss electronic metering company, Landis+Gyr (L+G) for $2.3 billion in cash and assumed debt to bolster its smart grid operations. The sale looks to be completed over the next few months subjected to regulatory approvals. This purchase, Toshiba’s largest since its Westinghouse Electric acquisition five years ago, would give Toshiba access to L+G’s customers across the globe including the US and Europe. According to Toshiba, the global smart grid may surge six fold to $71 billion over the next decade.

Toshiba, looking to play a greater role in the smart energy space, has been building its smart grid business competences over the past decade, in particular, power generation (nuclear energy) and grid transmission and distribution segments. It has also been building renewables energy expertise through its solar photovoltaic systems business and rechargeable batteries for renewable energy storage applications. L+G, founded in 1896, is a global pioneer in smart metering, networking and service products to meet the needs of the utilities industry. Presently, its business operations extend to 30 countries and regions across five continents.

By and large, a single smart grid entity with a global outreach offering full smart grid solutions is on the table now and this might not be the last of acquisitions for Toshiba to reach deeper into the customer end of the energy landscape. Longer term, it will be interesting to watch how these synergies work out in terms of potential markets, regional competitiveness and technical synergies and it won’t be surprising to see Toshiba’s peers follow suit. ABI Research will shortly be publishing a research report on the smart metering market. For additional information, please refer to the variety of products in our M2M Research Service and WSN Research Service

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