Smith Electric Announced IPO

Smith Electric Vehicles, which recently unveiled the first electric school bus, has filed for an IPO, hoping to raise $125 million. 
It will trade under the ticker (SMTH).

Smith produces electric vehicles (EVs) for commercial uses – vans, buses and trucks – for companies and municipalities. It  sold 320 vehicles over the past year and says it has written letters of interest for 2200 vehicles.

Frito-Lay says it’s building the largest fleet of commercial electric trucks in North America. It plans to roll out 155 trucks this year – all designed by Smith Electric.

And Duane Reade, the largest NYC drug store chain, is conducting a pilot with Smith to electrify its truck fleet

Smith is based in Kansas City, Missouri where it has an assembly plant, and has another plant in Newcastle, UK. Today, they announced a third manufacturing plant in NY State, where it will produce the Newton electric truck starting next year. 

Smith is second EV manufacturer to go public after Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA), which makes cars for the retail market.

Investors will need confidence in the future of electrified transportation because Smith isn’t profitable. Although it’s landed some high-profile clients, the company operates at a loss, with $37.6 million in revenue for the first half of 2011. They reported revenues of $35.6 million for 2010.

Smith had a net loss of nearly $21.3 million for the first half of 2011, compared with a loss of almost $30.3 million for 2010. 

Smith raised $58 million in equity funding this year, in one of the larger rounds. The company was formed in January 2009, and its senior management team has been in place only six months.

However, California-based Fisker Automotive and Coda Automotive, raise more, $150 million and $76 million respectively. Fisker makes luxury plug-ins and Coda makes EVs for the retail market.

Last week, the EV industry in Europe got a boost by a €220 million loan from the European Investment Bank to fund Nissan’s development of new production lines for the LEAF in the U.K.

China also announced plans to stimulate electric vehicle purchases, including 25 major pilot cities that will offer a variety of incentives from reduced tolls, parking fees, and utility bills. China is also building out an EV charging structure with more than 6000 stations by year end.

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