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USA: Smith Electric Vehicles is raising $40M, what about IPO?

Electric car company Smith Electric Vehicles is in the process of raising $40 million from private investors, according to a filing. So what about the potential $125 million IPO, which Smith filed for in November? Smith wouldn’t comment on the future of the IPO and the company hasn’t filed to pull the IPO yet, but often times when a company turns to private investors in the months after filing for an IPO, it indicates that the company might not actually go public.

It’s been a difficult past few months for greentech companies looking to go public. Late last year smart grid company Silver Spring Networks opted to raise private funds from storage and IT giant EMC, instead of going public (it filed for an IPO in the Summer of 2011).

The third quarter of 2011 was one of the weakest IPO markets since the end of 2009, according to a report released by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA). In August it seemed like the IPO window slammed shut due to macroeconomic conditions like the European crisis and has remained difficult since then.

Smith Electric Vehicles sells electric trucks and vans for companies’ fleet operations and counts customers like Coca-Cola, Fed-Ex, Staples, and Sainsburys, as well as the military. The trucks and vans are supposed to be cost competitive with diesel trucks. Based in Kansas City, Mo the company has long said it planned to go public, and it bought the electric vehicle division of its U.K. parent company, the Tanfield Group, in 2011.



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