Hong Kong, U.S. Hedge Funds Root for Luckin Coffee to Overcome Accounting Scandal with Debt-Restructuring Pact

Not many would have given Luckin Coffee a chance to survive its accounting fraud, yet since falling into provisional liquidation in July 2020, the firm has opened more stores, is getting a capital injection to repay creditors and is looking to exit chapter 15 bankruptcy protection, the South China Morning Post reported. On Tuesday, the Chinese Starbucks wannabe set another milestone by inking restructuring terms that could make bondholders almost whole and settle U.S. class-action lawsuits. Its two pre-IPO financial backers are pumping in US$250 million to help the firm move on to its next hurdles. All that is happening as the coffee chain added 89 self-operated stores in the first half of this year to 4,018, while its partnership stores grew by 367. The firm saw “substantial growth in net revenue,” aided by a jump in customers, its provisional liquidators said earlier this month. Last year, sales grew 33 percent to US$618 million. “Data and experience accumulated during the past few years’ business expansion, as well as its tech prowess, make Luckin Coffee a company worth rescuing,” said Ivan Platonov, a research manager at EqualOcean, a Beijing-based tech research firm. Luckin Coffee imploded in April 2020, less than a year after its Nasdaq listing, following revelations it inflated sales and understated costs to boost its performance metrics. The scandal wiped out more than US$12 billion in stock value and crashed its bonds to as low as 20 cents on the dollar, prompting a slew of lawsuits. Read more.