Spokane Journal of Business

Itron opts to buy back more of its own shares

Repurchase authorization starts as older plan ends

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Itron Inc., the Liberty Lake-based maker of utility meter reading technology, says it plans to buy back up to $50 million worth of its own stock during a 12-month period that began Feb. 19. 

The company’s board of directors approved the repurchase plan earlier this week, on Feb. 23. 

In a press release disclosing the planned buybacks, Itron President and CEO Philip Mezey says the repurchase plan will enable the company to return capital to shareholders while maintaining enough flexibility to invest internally to grow the business.

“The board’s authorization of a new share repurchase program reflects Itron’s confidence in the company’s long-term outlook,” Mezey asserts.

The new repurchase plans gears up as a 12-month, $50 million buyback authorization announced last year nears the end of its term. When that repurchase was announced, Mezey said the company had bought back more than 2.6 million shares, or 7 percent of all outstanding shares, since late 2011.

Itron stock, traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol ITRI, sold at just over $37 per share on Feb. 24. At that time, its 52-week high price was just $43.67 and its 52-week low price was $33.35.

Earlier this month, the company reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $49.2 million, or $1.25 a diluted share, compared with a loss of $154.4 million, or $3.93 a share, in the year-earlier period. For all of 2014, Itron posted a loss of $22.9 million, or 58 cents a share, compared with a loss of $146.8 million, or $3.74 a share, in 2013. 

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