Luckin Coffee chairman defaults on loan, gives up company shares

FILE PHOTO: Charles Zhengyao Lu, non-executive chairman of Luckin Coffee, speaks during the company's IPO at the Nasdaq Market site in New York, U.S., May 17, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Luckin Coffee Chairman Charles Zhengyao Lu and Chief Executive Jenny Zhiya Qian have handed over shares in the embattled Chinese coffee chain to lenders after a company controlled by Lu’s family defaulted on a $518 million margin loan, one of the banks said on Monday.

The default comes after Luckin, a major rival to Starbucks in China, said last week that much of its 2019 sales were fabricated, sending its shares plunging as much as 82% in U.S. trading and sparking an investigation by China’s securities regulator.

Some 515,355,752 class B shares and 95,445,000 class A shares of Luckin had been pledged to secure the loan, including shares additionally pledged by the family trust of Qian, one of the banks on the loan, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, said in a note to clients on Monday proposing a sale of the shares.

The other banks on the loan are Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Haitong, CICC and Barclays, according to people familiar with the matter.

Luckin declined to comment. Lu Zhengyao did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It was not possible to contact Qian directly. Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Barclays declined to comment. CICC and Haitong did not immediately respond to requests for comment outside business hours.

If all the shares pledged under the $518 million loan are sold, Lu Zhengyao’s voting interest in Luckin Coffee would not decrease, while Qian’s beneficial and voting interests would decrease significantly, Goldman Sachs said, without quantifying the size of the reduction.

The class B shares will be converted into American Depositary Shares (ADSs).

Luckin shares were down a further 15.4% in early afternoon trading in New York on Monday.

Reuters

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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