Smith Electric Vehicles Seeks $125M IPO

A Kansas City company that has made electric vehicles like vans, trucks and buses for such iconic brands as Coca-Cola and Fed-Ex plans to test the public market’s appetite for alternative transportation.

Smith Electric Vehicles announced that it filed paperwork with the Securities Exchange Commission to raise up to $125 million in an initial public offering. The move comes as companies line up to go public at an accelerated pace. Renaissance Capital, which tracks the IPO market, came out with a note earlier this week predicting as many as 11 public offerings for the coming week, though at least one, China’s LaShou Group has already put its IPO on hold and others might follow suit if the market continues to exhibit the kind of volatility it has shown in the face of uncertainty over Europe’s economy.

If it goes through with its plans, Smith would become the second electronic vehicle company to go public, though it’s a very different kind of company than its Silicon Valley predecessor, Tesla. That company has concentrated on automobiles for consumers with deep pockets, and on deals with other car companies to create electronic drive trains.

Smith makes electric vans, trucks and buses that it sells to other companies and to municipalities.

But while Smith has landed high-profile clients, it’s asking investors to bet big on the future rather than on present performance. The company isn’t profitable, and only generated $37.6 million in revenue in the six months ending June 30. It had only sold 320 vehicles in the year prior to September 30.