Luckin Coffee sells more shares than planned in IPO
Launched in 2017, Luckin operates 2,370 shops in China and plans to open 2,500 more in 2019 with the goal of displacing Starbucks
New York/Hong Kong — Luckin Coffee, the Chinese challenger to Starbucks, on Thursday priced its US initial public offering (IPO) at the top end of its targeted range, and sold more shares than planned in the biggest US float by a Chinese firm in so far in 2019.
The Beijing-based coffee chain raised $561m by selling 33-million American depositary shares (ADS), more than the 30-million it originally said it would sell, at $17 each — the top end of an indicative range of $15-$17.
Each ADS represents eight class A shares, the company said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission last week.
The pricing values loss-making Luckin, already backed by Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC and US money manager BlackRock at about $4.2bn.
Luckin is due to begin trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange on Friday under the symbol "LK".
The IPO comes as Chinese-US trade tensions involving tit-for-tat tariffs rattle global financial markets. In total, Chinese firms have raised $619m in US IPOs so far in 2019, down sharply from $3.7bn in the same period in 2017, Refinitiv data showed.
Luckin is the latest Chinese start-up tapping international capital markets to bolster coffers amid ever-intensifying competition with bigger rivals, notably Starbucks, at the home market.
Luckin currently operates 2,370 shops across China and plans to open 2,500 more in 2019 with the goal of displacing Starbucks as China's largest coffee chain.
The coffee chain, co-founded in June 2017 by CEO Qian Zhiya, plans to primarily use the IPO proceeds for store network expansion, customer acquisition, marketing, research and development.
The brand is banking on increased coffee consumption in China, expected to rise to 15.5-billion cups by 2023 from 8.7-billion in 2018, according to a report cited by Luckin in its prospectus.
The company has warned it may continue to incur losses in the foreseeable future. In 2018, it recorded a net loss to shareholders of $475.4m and total revenue of $125.27m, according to the filing. For the first three months of 2019, it posted a net loss of $85.3m.
Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, CICC, Haitong International and KeyBanc Capital Markets are among the banks underwriting the IPO.