SINGAPORE: Shuttered coffee chain Flash Coffee owes up to S$14.9 million (US$11 million) to about 120 creditors, BDO Singapore said on Friday (Nov 10).
This includes more than S$300,000 owed to employees for salaries and other contractual benefits, the professional services firm said in response to a CNA query.
Singapore-based Flash Coffee, a non-unionised company, closed its 11 outlets in the country last month to focus on other markets.
Salaries owed to workers comprise the balance of 75 per cent of their September salaries, wages for work done until Oct 12 and encashment of remaining leave days, the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers’ Union said on Oct 13.
In response to a question on when employees can expect to receive their unpaid wages, BDO Singapore said: “We are still in the midst of taking assets into custody, so we are not able to comment on timelines.”
BDO Singapore said that these assets, such as equipment, are being taken into custody for sale. Its next immediate step will be to collect debts.
The firm said that Mr Gary Loh, Mr Leow Quek Shiong and Ms Seah Roh Lin from its restructuring and forensic division are involved in the liquidation of Flash Coffee.
Flash Coffee's employees owed salaries, CPF contributions after sudden closure of all Singapore outlets: Union
Launched in 2020, Flash Coffee, with its iconic yellow storefronts, also operates in other Asian markets such as Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong. In 2021, it had almost 30 outlets in Singapore.
News of the chain’s closure in Singapore emerged on Oct 12 when a TikTok video and photos posted on Google Maps showed a sign at its Jurong Point outlet that said its baristas were “on strike”.
“In light of several late salary payouts, this outlet will be closed indefinitely,” the sign read.
“Your Flash baristas islandwide deserve a conducive work environment. We thank you for these memories. Till next time, goodbye.”
Flash Coffee denied that its employees were on strike, telling CNA on Oct 13 that it had ceased operations at its Singapore stores a day earlier.
“Consequently, our baristas are not required to report to work,” it said.
The company had decided to do this in order to “further consolidate (its) future efforts and to double down on (its) most promising markets”.
Flash Coffee reportedly laid off employees across different markets, including Singapore, last November.
In May of this year, the company announced that it had raised US$50 million (S$68 million) in a financing round led by White Star Capital.
At the time, it said the new funds would be used to reach group-level profitability.
DealStreetAsia had reported earlier in October that Flash Coffee was downsizing its operations.