Elster Group SE registered this week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering. The initial shares will range from $16 to $18.

Rumblings of an IPO for Elster came back in May, and the move has reportedly been in the works since 2009.

There will initially be 16.2 million shares offered for sale, 10.3 million of which represent new shares issued by Elster; shareholders will offer the remaining 5.9 million shares.

Elster is one of the leading providers of advanced metering infrastructure, including smart meters, the supporting software and mesh networking. It has already delivered more than two million smart meters.

One of its competitors, Silver Spring Networks, has also had a rumored IPO in the works. The company has raised more than $275 million from investors but has not commented on an IPO, which might be filed this fall, according to rumors. 

The IPO is expected to net Elster $152 million that will be used to repay some of its outstanding debt. The ticker symbol will be ELT.

In 2009, the Raleigh, N.C.-based company had nearly $1.7 billion in revenue, with a net income of $52.3 million. The gas industry comprises its largest segment, accounting for 53 percent of its business.

In the filing, Elster points to the worldwide financial breakdown and recent changes in government initiatives as some of the challenges the company is facing. As smart meter projects have been rolled back, delayed or even cut completely, as was the case for gas meters in Michigan, companies like Elster have felt the pinch. Also, though Elster was one of the earliest providers of end-to-end AMI solutions, the company has not secured some of the large contracts that Sensus, GE or Landis+Gyr have.

Deutsche Bank Securities, Goldman, Sachs & Co and J.P. Morgan will manage the offering, with Baird, Cannacord Genuity, Piper Jaffray, RBC Capital Markets and Stephens Inc. serving as co-leaders for the transaction.