Honestbee lays off 38 employees in Singapore as part of restructuring efforts

Honestbee lays off 38 employees in Singapore as part of restructuring efforts

honestbee's tech-integrated grocery habitat
Habitat, which is honestbee's tech-integrated grocery store. (Photo: Facebook/honestbee) 

SINGAPORE: Troubled start-up honestbee is laying off 38 employees as part of its restructuring process. 

In an announcement on Friday (Aug 2), honestbee also said it has made an application to the High Court to commence a court-supervised restructuring process, as it seeks a moratorium against any legal proceedings that may be brought against it by creditors. 

The company owes creditors more than US$180 million.   

"Honestbee has taken this imperative step to protect and preserve the value of its businesses while it restructures its operations across Asia," it said. "The move is necessary to ensure that honestbee has the right structure in place for long-term stability and success."

Honestbee had announced in May that it was stopping its food delivery and laundry service as part of a strategic review of its business. This affected about 400 delivery staff, many of whom worked part-time. 

READ: Honestbee to stop food delivery service in Singapore

READ: Honestbee suspends concierge service for FairPrice products 

On Friday, honestbee said the 38 employees laid off are mainly in operations and engineering. 

"Their departures are not reflective of their performance, but rather due to the restructuring of our business operations in Singapore. The move is necessary to ensure that the company has the right structure in place for long-term stability and success," a spokesperson said in response to CNA's queries. 

"Employees will be asked to serve their notice period as per their contract."

Earlier this week, the company announced the appointment of new CEO Lay Ann Ong, who took over from interim CEO Brian Koo. 

Mr Koo had replaced honestbee's co-founder and CEO Joel Sng, who stepped down on May 2. 

Another co-founder Jonathan Low, who was also chief technology officer, resigned in July.

As part of its restructuring process, honestbee said it will work closely with its advisors, creditors and stakeholders "to achieve the best possible outcome for all interested parties".

It has engaged Oon & Bazul LLP as its legal adviser and DHC Capital as its independent financial adviser. 

Source: CNA/ad(gs)

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