Robinsons owes almost $32 million to more than 440 creditors
Largest amount owed, about $7.2 million, is to landlord of Heeren outlet
More than 440 creditors are owed at least $31.7 million by department store stalwart Robinsons, which is closing down its last two stores here at The Heeren and Raffles City Shopping Centre.
In a notice issued to creditors dated last Friday by provisional liquidator KordaMentha, no individuals were named as creditors, but it said potential employee claims amounted to about $4.4 million.
The largest amount owed, about $7.2 million, is to Swee Cheng Holdings, the landlord of Robinsons' Heeren outlet, according to the notice that KordaMentha released publicly yesterday.
The next largest amounts of about $4.2 million each are owed to two more businesses, Lendlease Retail Investment 3 and an entity linked to RCS Trust.
Lendlease is the landlord of Jem mall, where Robinsons closed an outlet in August. RCS Trust owns Raffles City, where Robinsons has another store.
Mattress companies such as Simmons, Sealy, Serta and Tempur are also among the 442 creditors listed in the notice.
Mattress companies are owed money by Robinsons for mattresses consumers had paid the department store for but have yet to receive. Six mattress companies have said they will honour the purchases by customers.
Robinsons said on Oct 30 that it had decided to liquidate its Heeren and Raffles City stores due to factors like changing consumer tastes and cost pressures such as rent. The Covid-19 pandemic played a part as well.
KordaMentha will take control of Robinsons' assets and assess the options to realise value to maximise returns to creditors.
An online creditors' meeting will be called next Thursday to appoint a committee of inspection to represent the interests of the creditors. During the meeting, creditors will also receive a statement of Robinsons' affairs.
Lawyers have said that when companies wind down, they are bound by the law to pay creditors such as banks they owe money to or to former employees, with customers last in line.
Veteran lawyer Amolat Singh said companies are separate legal entities from their owners and shareholders.
"Even when a company goes into liquidation, debts owed by the company will not be borne by its owner or shareholders," he said.
Dubai-based Al-Futtaim Group is Robinsons' parent company. The group owns other franchises like Marks & Spencer and Zara.
Meanwhile, at least 11 former Robinsons employees have approached the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management for help after Robinsons announced its liquidation.
"They are uncertain about payment of retrenchment benefit, salary-in-lieu of notice and encashment of unconsumed annual leave," a MOM spokesman said.