Itron: Q1 results

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Itron, Inc. announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2012. Highlights include:

• Quarterly revenues of $572 million;

• Quarterly GAAP diluted net earnings per share of 63 cents;

• Quarterly non-GAAP diluted net earnings per share of 91 cents;

• Quarterly cash flow from operations and free cash flow of $54 million and $42 million;

• Quarterly adjusted EBITDA of $67 million;

• Twelve-month backlog of $760 million and total backlog of $1.2 billion; and

• Quarterly bookings of $488 million.

“We’re off to a good start to the year on revenue with our newly implemented global Energy and Water segments both contributing to four percent sales growth at constant currency,” said LeRoy Nosbaum, Itron’s president and chief executive officer. “Our expenses are higher compared to last year as we are building the Energy and Water sales teams in Latin America and Asia-Pacific, undertaking new product development projects globally, and implementing a global ERP system and organization structure to support our new global operations. This impacted our operating margin compared to the prior year but the initiatives are intended to make us more efficient and better positioned to capitalize on opportunities around the world.”

Financial Results

Revenues for the quarter were $572 million compared to $564 million in the same period in 2011. Changes in foreign currency exchange rates unfavorably impacted revenue by $13 million for the quarter. The increase in revenue for the quarter was due to growth in both the Energy and Water segments. Energy revenue increased over the prior year primarily due to increased smart gas module shipments in North America and increased electric product shipments in Europe and Asia-Pacific. In addition, OpenWay project revenue in North America increased $3 million over the same period in 2011. Revenue growth in the Water segment was driven by increased meter shipments in Latin America and Europe.

Gross margin for the quarter was 32.0 percent compared to the prior year period margin of 32.8 percent. In the prior year period, an $8.6 million gain from a recovery of a warranty claim was recorded which positively impacted the gross margin by 1.5 percentage points. Excluding the impact of this gain, gross margin improved 0.7 percentage points over the prior year primarily due to a $4 million decrease in warranty expenses.

GAAP operating expenses were $144 million in the quarter compared to $135 million in the same period last year. Changes in foreign currency exchange rates favorably impacted operating expenses by $3 million for the quarter. The increase in expenses was due to sales and marketing efforts in both the Energy and Water segments, increased product research and development in the Energy segment and increased Corporate general and administrative costs, including acquisition-related expenses related to the SmartSynch acquisition which is anticipated to close in early May.

Net interest expense was $2.2 million for the quarter compared to $11.8 million in the same period last year. The decrease in net interest expense was due to a reduced principal balance and lower effective interest rates. The company refinanced its bank debt in August 2011 which significantly reduced the interest rate. During the quarter, we reduced our debt by approximately $14 million.

GAAP net income and diluted EPS for the quarter was $25 million, or 63 cents per share, compared to net income of $27 million, or 66 cents per share in the same period in 2011. The decrease in 2012 net income for the quarter was due to an increase in operating expenses offset by a decrease in net interest expense.

Non-GAAP operating expenses for the quarter, which excludes amortization of intangibles, restructuring charges and acquisition related expenses, increased $9 million over prior year. An increase of $12 million related to global sales and marketing activity, product research and development, and general administrative costs, was partially offset by a decrease of $3 million due to currency fluctuations. Non-GAAP net income and diluted EPS for the quarter was $36 million, or 91 cents per share, compared to $41 million, or 99 cents per share, in the same period in 2011. The decrease in non-GAAP net income for the quarter was due to an increase in operating expenses partially offset by a decrease in interest expense.

During the quarter, the company repurchased 282,090 shares of Itron common stock at an average price of $37.56 per share pursuant to Board authorization to repurchase up to $100 million of Itron common stock during a 12 month period beginning October 2011. The company has repurchased approximately 1.1 million shares of Itron common stock at an average price of $36.20 per share since inception of the program, representing 2.7 percent of total shares outstanding as of October 2011.

Contact:
Itron, Inc.
Barbara Doyle
Vice President, Investor Relations
509-891-3443
barbara.doyle@itron.com
or
Marni Pilcher
Director, Investor Relations
509-891-3847
marni.pilcher@itron.com
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