Drivers of Smith Electric Vehicles might take their vehicles out on quick trips to the supermarket or drug store, but they won't do any shopping. A producer of zero-emission electric vehicles, Smith Electric designs and manufactures light- to medium-duty electric delivery trucks for companies in the food and beverage, retail, parcel and postal delivery, and other industries. Its vehicles, which are sold primarily in the UK and US under its Newton and Edison brands, are designed for short-range travel in and around urban areas (some models can travel up to 150 miles on one charge). Other offerings include maintenance and repair services. Smith Electric was formed in 2009; it cancelled plans to go public in 2012.
Smith Electric filed to go public in late 2011 but cancelled its plans in mid-2012 after not receiving a high enough valuation. The company planned to raise almost $80 million to pay off debt and support its future growth strategy, but instead it will look to private financing options.
In 2010 Smith Electric saw its revenue increase by 56% over its 2009 results. Its positive revenue figures were driven by improved vehicle sales, particularly in the US. Smith Electric has a history of operating losses, however, and has never been profitable. Higher research and development, administrative, selling, and other costs kept the company in the red in 2010.
As part of its current growth strategy, Smith Electric has a handful of vehicle models in development that are poised for release. Among its new models is a Newton step-van that will have a range of 40-120 miles and payload capacity of 2,700 to 10,000 pounds; other new models include an Edison light-duty truck for the UK and other select markets.
Other growth efforts include expanding its customer base through sales and marketing initiatives. Currently, a relatively small number of customers bring in the majority of its revenue. Major customers include Staples (which accounted for 24% of the company's revenues in 2010), Frito-Lay (14%), and Sainsbury's (12%). Other key customers include Coca-Cola and DHL.
Prior to its IPO filing, Smith Electric was owned by Tanfield Group Plc, which held a 30% stake; Continental Casualty Company with its 16% stake; and Roy Stanley, who held an 11% stake.