Singapore markets open in 6 hours 30 minutes

Honestbee creditor files application to wind up distressed grocery delivery start-up

Janet Ong
Finance Editor
(PHOTO: Honestbee)

SINGAPORE — An Honestbee creditor, Benjamin Lim Jia-Rong, has filed an application to the Singapore High court to wind up the distressed grocery delivery startup.

The application was filed by Lim on 27 March and is due to be heard on 17 April, according to a notice published on the Government Gazette on 6 April.

Honestbee declined to comment when asked by Yahoo Finance Singapore.

The company lost court protection from creditors for its US$230 million (S$329 million) of debt on 26 March after the Singapore court dismissed its request for more time to convene a scheme meeting to restructure its debt.

According to a Business Times report, Honestbee owes Lim US$3.8 million, which he had previously extended to the startup via an unsecured loan, making him junior to secured creditor Formation Group’s US$4 million claim.

Under Honestbee's proposed scheme of arrangement, FLK – an entity controlled by Formation’s managing partner Brian Koo – was to have injected US$7 million into the company, the report said. The cash was to have been used to repay creditors owed above S$500 each with three cents on the dollar in cash.

Honestbee was to have repaid the remainder of its debt via equity issuance.

FLK and Formation later told Honestbee that they were reconsidering their continued support for the company due to “the worsening COVID-19 pandemic across the world and the resulting uncertainties”.

The Habitat by Honestbee supermarket has been shut since 10 February due to reduced footfall in the midst of the pandemic. It was due to reopen on 23 February, but did not.

The company last month laid off some 80 per cent of its 130 staff in Singapore and owed salaries and Central Provident Fund contributions to existing and former employees. 

Launched in 2015, Honestbee was co-founded by Joel Sng, Jonathan Low and Isaac Tay. They have since left the company.

The company on 24 March said it had sought legal advice and sent letters of demand to its former chief executive officer Sng and ex-director Jeffrey Wong, alleging breach of fiduciary duties.

Related stories:

Layoffs, unpaid salaries and CPF kills buzz for honestbee’s staff; plans now for pizza joint

Honestbee granted 4-month debt moratorium by Singapore court

Honestbee applies to start court-supervised restructuring process