Luckin Coffee Explodes Into the Market

Luckin Coffee Inc. (NASDAQ: LK) is yet another IPO with a fiery entrance to the market on Friday. It went out at $25 per American depositary share (ADS), well above the original pricing of $17 apiece. That was the high end of the expected price range of $15 to $17 for the 33.0 million ADSs, with an overallotment option for an additional 4.95 million more.  At the $17 price, the entire offering was valued at roughly $645 million. Note that each ADS represents eight Class A ordinary shares.

The underwriters for the offering are Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, China International Capital Corporation Hong Kong Securities, Haitong International Securities, KeyBanc and Needham.

Luckin pioneered a technology-driven new retail model to provide coffee and other products of high quality, high affordability and high convenience to the customers. Empowered by big data analytics, artificial intelligence and proprietary technologies, the company pursues its mission to be part of everyone’s everyday life, starting with coffee.

The firm had 2,370 stores open at the end of the first quarter and plans to add 2,500 this year alone. Luckin is trying to overtake Starbucks as the largest coffee chain in China. Since its founding less than two years ago, the company has tried to build a customer base with smaller locations formatted for convenience and offering steep discounts.

In 2018, the chain reported net sales of $125.3 million and a net loss of $241.3 million. To cover its losses and pay for its ambitious expansion plans, Luckin has raised $550 million so far, according to Crunchbase.

The company intends to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes, which may include store network expansion, customer acquisition, research and development, sales and marketing, investment in technology infrastructure, working capital and other general and administrative matters.

Shares of Luckin Coffee were last seen up about 49% at $25.35, in a range of $24.50 to $25.96 on the day thus far. About 10.5 million shares had moved on the day as of 11:20 a.m. Eastern.