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No IPO For Smith Electric Vehicles

As recently as yesterday, IPO-watchers were keeping an eye on Smith Electric Vehicles, which was expected to go public today. I recently wrote about the company’s plans.

But last night the company pulled its SEC filing. “We received significant interest from potential investors, however, we were unable to complete a transaction at a valuation or size that would be in the best interests of our company and its existing shareholders,” said Bryan Hansel, Smith’s chief executive, in a release. “We have instead elected to pursue private financing opportunities to support the execution of our business plan.”

Though in general, IPO traffic has picked up in the last few weeks, some cleantech and chemical companies have been shy to pull the trigger on public markets. But many have had success instead with follow-on rounds of venture investing or strategic investments.

It can be a better bet than the IPO market, because investor appetite for particular sectors can change quickly. In Smith Electric’s case, some analysts think that slow sales of plug-in hybrid passenger vehicles dampened enthusiams for the electric vehicle market overall.

John Petersen, an analyst who blogs at SeekingAlpha, includes the news about Smith Electric in a larger roundup of information about the battery marketplace. He includes information from a Congressional Budget Office report on the high cost of government subsidies for the electric vehicle market. And he links to a detailed article from the American Physical Society about why lithium ion batteries (at least the versions around now) may not be the right technology for transportation.


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