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Luckin Coffee secures US$250 million in funds, replaces auditor

The funds will be used in part to fulfill its obligations under a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Luckin Coffee announced it replaced its auditor and said it secured US$250 million in funds from a pair of private equity firms.

In a statement, the company’s board approved the appointment of Hong Kong-based Centurion ZD CPA & Co. as auditor effective immediately.

Marcum Bernstein & Pinchuk LLP, the company’s previous auditor, according to Luckin, “believes that it has not gathered sufficient independent third-party data or conducted sufficient audit procedures to complete the audit.”

The coffee chain and its former auditor “have no disagreements on any matter of accounting principles or practices, financial statement disclosure, or auditing scope or procedure,” the statement added.

Luckin has also implemented remediation measures to its internal controls and is working with CZD to file annual reports for 2019 and 2020 as soon as possible.

The coffee chain, once seen as a rival to Starbucks, acknowledged last year that it intentionally fabricated more than US$300 million in sales, which led to the firing of its chairman and chief executive officer, hundreds of millions in fines from Chinese and U.S. regulators, and the delisting of its stock by Nasdaq.

In a separate announcement, Luckin said an affiliate of Centurium Capital has agreed to an investment of US$240 million in shares through a private placement, with Joy Capital investing an additional US$10 million.

According to a filing, the investors may be able to purchase an additional $150 million under certain circumstances. The funds will be used in part to fulfill Luckin’s obligations under a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, it said.

In December, the SEC announced a US$180 million fine for “defrauding investors by materially misstating the company’s revenue, expenses and net operating loss.”

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