China’s Luckin Coffee files for US listing

China’s Luckin Coffee has filed for a US IPO seeking to raise up to US$800 million.

For the time being, the IPO is officially indicated by a $100 million placeholder figure, however knowledgeable sources have disclosed the actual amount sought may be more than $500 million and up to $800 million, with the company’s valuation estimated at $4–5 billion, far higher than has been reflected in previous statements.

Within the last few weeks the company secured a further $150 million in equity funding, ahead of the IPO.

If the public listing is successful, it will make the Beijing-based cafe chain the largest US IPO by a Chinese company so far this year.

China’s Luckin Coffee has undergone “expansion on steroids” in an effort to displace Starbucks as the biggest operator in the nation. This year, the firm plans to more than double its current network of 2370 stores, despite still operating at a loss following the ambitious growth spurt.

Luckin’s net loss to shareholders was $475.4 million last year against a total revenue of $125.27 million. However the firm insists the future is bright – a prospectus released by China’s Luckin Coffee suggests that coffee consumption in China will rise to 15.5 billion cups by 2023 compared with the 8.7 billion cups consumed last year.

“The big question for the brand long term is if, when it rolls back discounts, enough customers stick around,” said Shanghai-based principal at China Market Research Group Ben Cavender. “But the company has completely rewritten the rules for the coffee business in China and has impacted Starbucks as well as a host of smaller players.”

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