* Says offer equivalent to 50p per Tanfield share in issue
* Shares rise as much as 44 pct (Adds details)
March 10 (Reuters) - Britain's Tanfield Group Plc (TAN.L) said Smith Electric Vehicles US offered to buy the assets of its electric vehicle division for 37 million pounds ($55.37 million) in cash, sending its shares up as much as 44 percent.
The British commercial electric vehicle maker said the non-binding, conditional offer from its associate company, Smith Electric, was equivalent to 50 pence per Tanfield share in issue.
Tanfield said it would also be entitled to an additional 33.3 million pounds contingent credit in any initial public offering of Smith Electric before September 2015, which was equivalent to up to 45 pence per Tanfield share in issue.
The company said the assets that Smith Electric offered to buy also included the 49 percent shareholding in Smith owned by Tanfield.
In 2009, Tanfield established Smith Electric in North America, with a 49 percent equity holding in it. The company licenses its commercial electric vehicle technology to Smith Electric in exchange for a royalty fee.
The company also said it expected to report net cash at Dec. 31, 2009 of around 5 million pounds. Tanfield shares were up 40.4 percent at 40 pence at 0922 GMT. They touched a high of 41 pence earlier in the session, making them the top gainer on the London Stock Exchange. ($1=.6682 Pound) (Reporting by Kumar Alagappan in Bangalore; Editing by Aradhana Aravindan)