Smith Electric Vehicles to raise $77 mln in IPO

Smith Electric Vehicles plans to raise about $77 million in its initial public offering on Friday to support its business as a maker of medium duty, battery-powered commercial trucks aimed at replacing diesel fuel models.

The Kansas City, Mo., company bills itself as the only vehicle manufacturer selling to major commercial fleets in the U.S. and Europe that exclusively produces electric vehicles.

Smith Electric plans to offer 4.5 million shares of common stock at a proposed price range of $16 to $18 each for trading on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol SMTH.

Based on the midpoint of the range, Smith will raise $77 million in the IPO, which is expected to begin trading Friday.

Customers include Staples Inc. SPLS, FedEx Corp. FDX and Coca-Cola Co. KO.

Medium-gauge diesel trucks used for delivery routes cost about 72 cents per mile to operate, compared to 22 cents per mile for an all-electric vehicle, according to an industry source cited in the company’s IPO prospectus.

“We believe our vehicles provide a lower total cost of ownership, which includes a vehicle’s up-front cost as well as ongoing costs such as fuel and maintenance, than that of conventional diesel vehicles,” the company said.

Smith Electric’s net loss narrowed to $21.3 million in the six months ended June 30, compared to a loss of $27.3 million in the year-ago period. Total revenue rose to $37.6 million from $16.8 million during the same period a year ago.

Shareholders in the company include Tanfield Group PLC, Continental Casualty Company, Roy Stanley and Potomac Energy Fund.