By Greg Roumeliotis
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. water technology company Xylem Inc said on Monday it would buy Sensus USA Inc, a provider of advanced metering technologies to utilities, for around $1.7 billion in cash.
The acquisition would make Xylem a major player in the market for smart meters, at a time when regulatory requirements and a drive for savings are pushing both companies and consumers to control their water and energy consumption more tightly.
Xylem will finance the deal with about $400 million of its non-U.S. cash, new and existing credit facilities, and a combination of short- and long-term debt, the company said in a statement.
Xylem, which manufactures equipment used in water and wastewater applications, reaffirmed its 2016 earnings forecast and said it expects the deal to add to its adjusted earnings in 2017.
Reuters exclusively reported earlier on Monday that the companies were nearing a deal.
Sensus, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, is a supplier of smart metering and related communications systems to the water, gas, heat and electric utility sectors. Its revenue was $837 in the year ended March 2016.
Xylem said the purchase price was 10.7 times Sensus’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in fiscal 2016. Rye Brook, New York-based Xylem had revenue of $3.7 billion last year.
Sensus is one of the longest held investments in the history of private equity. Buyout firm Jordan Company, in partnership with Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s private equity arm, acquired the company for $650 million in 2003.
Goldman’s private equity business still owns 34 percent of Sensus, with Jordan Company owning the remainder.
Sensus’s financial metrics have steadily improved since bottoming three years ago, driven by stronger end-market demand and comprehensive cost-cutting initiatives, ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc said earlier this year.
New product launches, combined with Sensus’s restructuring efforts, should benefit operating results over the medium term, Moody’s added.
Xylem had said in a recent investor presentation that it could deploy as much as $3.5 billion on mergers and acquisitions in the next five years, with any unspent cash being used to buy back stock.
Lazard is Xylem’s financial adviser and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP its legal adviser. Credit Suisse and Goldman, Sachs & Co are Sensus’s financial advisers and Mayer Brown LLP its legal counsel.
(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis and Vishaka George; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Savio D’Souza)