Smith Electric secures $42 million investment, hints at IPO

Commercial EV builder Smith Electric Vehicles has secured a $42 million investment commitment from Sinopoly Battery Limited, a multinational producer of lithium-ion batteries and related EV products. The first $2 million has been delivered, and the remainder will be invested in two tranches pending milestones to be achieved in the coming months.

Sinopoly will become a strategic shareholder in Smith, the company’s exclusive supplier for batteries in compatible vehicle applications, and a preferred supplier for certain other EV components.

“Demand for all-electric commercial vehicles is rapidly increasing in China, and Sinopoly’s investment in Smith Electric highlights the important role we will play in the global marketplace,” said Smith CEO Bryan Hansel. “This investment provides both companies with the opportunity to leverage the synergies between our operations while Smith maintains the financial and operational flexibility to scale manufacturing, transition and strengthen our supply chain, and move toward company profitability.”

“Sinopoly’s investment in Smith represents an important and strategic advance step in establishing Sinopoly as a significant integrated player in the EV industry,” said Sinopoly Chairman and Executive Director Cao Zhong. “The combined expertise of Smith and Sinopoly, which will adopt the name of FDG Electric Vehicles Limited shortly, along with the macro-subsidy policy for alternative energy vehicles, uniquely positions us to capitalize on the rapidly growing commercial EV market in China and the US.”

Smith Electric plans to resume production in its Kansas City, Missouri, facility in mid-summer 2014. The company says that its recent suspension of production was done in order to transition its supply chain to Tier 1 suppliers, which will enable Smith to produce its vehicles at a lower cost.

Smith was talking about an IPO in 2012, but ended up dropping the plan. Could it be getting ready to try again? “Sinopoly’s investment in Smith Electric Vehicles marks an important milestone in recapitalizing and restructuring the company in preparation for the public market,” said Smith’s newly-appointed Chairman of the Board Charles Gassenheimer.

 

Source: Smith Electric Vehicles