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Electric van maker in move to raise funds

The future of Smith Electric Vehicles is in doubt as it attempts to raise vital funds through a share offering on the US stock market.

The company, which started as a builder of electric delivery vehicles in Newcastle in the 1920s and still has a manufacturing facility in the area, is now based in Kansas City after a US buyout in 2010.

Smith, which was reformed following the buyout, has yet to turn a profit – not unusual for a start-up.

But it lost $52.5 million (£33.5m) last year and an amendment to its filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in May raises serious questions about its future, reports Fleet News.

The filing cited a report from an accountancy firm containing an explanatory paragraph that said “recurring losses from operations, negative working capital, and stockholders’ capital deficiency, and the uncertainty around our ability to raise sufficient capital, raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern”.

Its Smith Edison electric van was given approved status for the UK’s plug-in van grant in February, but even with the offer of £8,000 of Government subsidy, the company can’t escape its mounting losses.

It counts Coca-Cola, Staples, Fedex, Sainsbury’s and Gateshead Council among its customers for its electric vans, which include the Ford Transit-based Smith Edison.

Sainsbury’s operates electric fridge van versions for home deliveries within the M25.

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