Smart meter maker Landis+Gyr said Friday it has raised $100 million from its shareholders to help it make enough smart meters to keep up with its $1 billion in contracts this year.

Rival smart meter giant Itron may want to keep a close eye on how much of the business is in the United States, analysts say.

Zug, Switzerland-based Landis+Gyr, which reported about $1.25 billion in revenue last year, is seen as the smart meter market leader in Europe. In the United States, Spokane, Wash.-based Itron, which reported $1.2 billion in revenue for the first nine months of 2009, holds that position.

But most of Landis+Gyr's growth this year has come in the U.S., the company says. That includes a planned 3.4 million smart meter deployment with Texas utility Oncor, another 700,000 with AEP Texas, a portion of Pepco's planned smart meter deployment and a 600,000-meter deployment with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

Landis+Gyr also shares with General Electric a 10-million smart meter deployment being done by Pacific Gas & Electric.

Itron, of course, has about 14 million smart meters in the field and contracts to deliver millions more for utilities including San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, CenterPoint Energy, DTE Energy and others.

But it and other smart meter makers have faced a slowdown in business in the U.S. over the past year. Many industry observers attribute that to the $3.9 billion in stimulus grants the federal government has aimed at smart grid deployments, which led to utilities postponing contracts until they could tally any federal support they might get.

Itron reported a $3 million loss for the third quarter of 2009, compared to a $5.6 million profit in the period last year. Revenues for the first nine months of 2009 were $1.2 billion, compared to $1.48 billion for the same period last year.

But the $3.4 billion in smart grid grants the Department of Energy announced last month are expected to drive about 18 million smart meters into the field over the next three years. That's put pressure on meter makers to get a share of the suddenly booming market (see Green Light post).

Both Itron and Landis+Gyr face competition from rival smart metering giants Elster, Sensus and General Electric. At the same time, parts of the business they used to control – like networking their own meters – has been taken over by upstarts such as Silver Spring Networks, Trilliant and SmartSynch.

Itron also has about 67 million older-generation meters out in the field that send out electricity usage data via radio signals, but don't maintain a two-way connection with utility networks. The company is working with several technology partners to upgrade those so-called AMR meters for two-way communications (see Green Light post).