Swiss tech firm in $2.5 billion Toshiba deal

Toshiba and its Japanese partners plan to buy Swiss metering technology firm Landis+Gyr for 200 billion yen ($2.5 billion), local media said on Tuesday.

The Japanese electronics giant has obtained preferential negotiation rights with an Australian investment group that has the major stake in the Swiss

firm, the Asahi Shimbun and the Nikkei business daily said.

The two sides are likely to reach a final agreement as early as the end of this week in a deal aimed at enhancing Toshiba’s competitiveness in the next-generation power grid market, the two dailies said.

Toshiba will provide more than half the funds for the deal, which is being pursued with other parties, including a Japanese quasi-governmental fund, the papers said.

Landis+Gyr is a leading maker of smart meters largely seen as key equipment for next-generation power grids. Smart meters can remotely collect information on usage and capacity in real time for efficient power supplies.

A Toshiba spokesman said the firm was looking to strengthen its smart power grid business but declined to comment on the reports.


France to roll out ID cards app

Technology is being rolled out to allow people to carry their French ID cards in an app form - and could be rolled out to other cards, including driving licences and cartes de séjour residency cards.

France to roll out ID cards app

Holders of French carte d’identité (ID cards) will soon be able to carry certified digital versions of them on their smartphone or other electronic devices, a decree published in the Journal Officiel has confirmed.

An official app is being developed for holders of the newer credit card-format ID cards that have information stored on a chip. A provisional test version of the app is expected at the end of May.

Users will be able to use the ID card app, when it becomes available, for a range of services “from checking in at the airport to renting a car”, according to Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market.

All French citizens have an ID card, which can be used for proving identity in a range of circumstances and for travel within the EU and Schengen zone – the new app will be in addition to the plastic card that holders already have.

Under the plans, after downloading the app, card holders will need merely to hold the card close to their phone to transfer the required information. According to officials, the holder then can decide what information is passed on – such as proof of age, or home address – according to the situation.

The government has not given any examples of situations in which the app would need to be used, but has set out the main principles and the ambition of the plan: to allow everyone to identify themselves and connect to certain public and private organisations, in particular those linked to the France Connect portal.

READ ALSO What is France Connect and how could it make your life simpler?

Cards will continue to be issued for the foreseeable future – this is merely an extension of the existing system.

Only French citizens have ID cards, but if successful the app is expected to be rolled out to include other cards, such as driving licences, cartes de séjour residency cards or even visas. A digital wallet is being developed at the European level – Member States have until September to agree what it could contain.

READ ALSO Eight smartphone apps that make life in France a bit easier