May 11, 2011 - Toshiba Corp is among bidders including U.S. and European firms vying to buy Switzerland-based smart metering company Landis+Gyr,  in an auction that sources have said could fetch as much as $2 billion.

Landis+Gyr, based in the Swiss city of Zug, has drawn initial bids from General Electric Co and several private equity firms, people familiar with the matter told Reuters in April.

Honeywell International and Swiss engineering firm ABB have also expressed interest
"We are considering various ways to expand the smart grid business, but cannot comment on specific projects," he said.

Landis+Gyr, which makes advanced, or "smart" meters used for measuring power and other energy use, has hired Credit Suisse and Lazard Ltd to advise on a potential sale of the company.

Toshiba's reported interest comes as Japan's government asks businesses and households in northern and eastern Japan's to cut electricity use by as much as a quarter to help utilities cope with peak demand in summer after the March 11 earthquake closed down nuclear power stations and squeezed generating capacity.

Advanced meters allow households to more closely monitor usage while also sending data back to their power providers, which helps them manage power supply more efficiently.
 
Toshiba may partner with public-private fund Innovation Network Corp of Japan or with U.S. and European firms if its bid is accepted, the Nikkei said. Shiba spokesman Keisuke Ohmori declined to confirm or deny the report.