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Yahoo BusinessApr 03, 2020
Luckin Coffee Scandal Deals New Blow to Corporate China
(Bloomberg) -- The fallout from Luckin Coffee Inc.'s accounting scandal is spreading far beyond the high-flying Starbucks challenger, with renewed concerns about Chinese corporate governance dragging down stocks across industries and threatening to bring a halt to the country's overseas initial public offerings.The Xiamen-based company's announcement that its chief operating officer and some underlings may have fabricated billions of yuan in sales cast doubt on what was supposed to be one of China's fastest-growing companies. Luckin Coffee shares plunged as much as 81% in U.S. trading and CAR Inc., a rental company founded by Luckin Coffee's chairman, sank 54% in Hong Kong. Popular short-selling targets including Anta Sports Products Ltd. also slumped.Doubts over financial reporting have for years dogged Chinese stocks listed in the U.S. and Hong Kong, two exchanges frequently picked by company founders to raise new funds. And while China just recently changed regulation to punish instances of financial fraud onshore, the penalties remain negligible. Just last year, one of China's largest listed drug makers said it overstated cash holdings by more than $4.3 billion."After the Luckin incident, investors will be more careful when investing in Chinese companies that have a short founding history and rely on huge leverage to expand," said Jackson Wong, Hong Kong-based asset management director for Amber Hill Capital Ltd.Luckin's revelation is likely to put at least a temporary freeze on new U.S. listings by Chinese com
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