I wanted to keep a list of companies that became insolvent since the start of Covid-19 period. I have made use of media reports as well as company sources to verify their status.
Some of these businesses have decided to close for good and undergo liquidation processes, selling off their assets for as much cash as they could get. Others have filed for court protection against creditors to give them ample time to work out a get well plan. I have included companies in both of these scenarios.
On many occassions, we cannot simply put a blame on Covid-19 for these business problems. Some of the businesses have faced issues way before Covid-19 struck. It could be due to intense competition or a lack of product-market fit. Covid-19 was just a nail to the coffin.
I segmented the list to 5 parts as some industries such as F&B, airlines and retail had more cases.
- Singapore – F&B
- Singapore – Others
- International – Airlines
- International – Retail
- International – Others
Most importantly, this is NOT meant to be a list of shame. In fact, it is the opposite – let’s salute these entrepreneurs who have taken the risks to build something for our society.
I tried to incorporate their stories as much as possible. Businesses are run by real people, with passion, blood, sweat and tears. Their enterprises may be gone, but their stories live on.
#1 – Jok Jok Mor (18 Mar 2020)
Jok Jok Mor (which means “Porridge in a Pot” in Thai) is a casual Thai restaurant that offers authentic Thai porridge served with a twist. Used to ply its trade at Rangoon Road.
#2 – Chi Kinjo (28 Mar 2020)
A modern sushi and highball bar nestled in the CBD area.
It was part of the portfolio restaurants under Coterie Dining Concepts. The company was run by sisters Sharon and Sandra Sim, and Tay Eu-Yen. Besides Chi Kinjo, Coterie has Sum Yi Tai, Mona Lounge, and club Eliza under its wing.
#3 – La Cantina in Venezia (28 Mar 2020)
Located at the rooftop of Village Hotel Changi, the Italian restaurant has been operating for 17 years. Nicholas Lim is the founder and he said that business has already fallen by as much as 70 per cent just before the circuit breaker.
#4 – Tian Wei Seafood (29 Mar 2020)
Even staple zichar food was not spared. Tian Wei Seafood stall was operating at Tagore Lane. Probably as workers stayed home, they lost the crowd during lunch hours.
#5 – Breko Cafe (31 Mar 2020)
One of the popular hunts in Holland Village. They have been operating for 20 years!
I managed to dig out an interview with the founder, Kang Soo Koon. You can read about his entrepreneurship journey,
For Breko, we opened 4 outlets and closed 3 of them. I do not consider that as an achievement. But as time goes by, I was proud that I was able to keep a team of staff that has stuck with me through thick and thin for over 10 years. After a lot of tough lessons, we managed to pull through and opened subsidiaries of Breko such as Refuel cafe at Bedok Reservoir and Fuel Plus café at Morse Road. Therefore, my proudest business achievements are that I have a loyal team of staff and the expansion of the business.
#6 – Long Time Ago (31 Mar 2020)
The founder of this pub, Yvonne Yeo, told her side of her story. She was evicted by the landlord for missing rent even when her deposit could more than cover for the amount owed.
#7 – Oromo Coffee (31 Mar 2020)
Toh Ee Ming is the founder of Oromo Coffee and his self-ordering initiative was commended by PM Lee at the launch of National Productivity Month. Besides this cafe, he owns a Subway franchise too.
#8 – Kuishin Bo (3 Apr 2020)
It was more than 10 years ago when I first dined at Kuishin Bo with my Air Force buddies. I had a great experience and I will always remember the iconic announcement whenever a special dish is available.
#9 – Peppercorn (25 Apr 2020)
A rare Ma La Tang establishment that’s Halal certified.
#10 – Hashida Sushi (30 Apr 2020)
The Company noted the impact of the Enhanced Measures on Hashida Sushi as stated above
and performed a strategic review of the viability of Hashida Sushi. It has decided to permanently
close Hashida Sushi with effect from 30 April 2020
#11 – High Steaks (30 Apr 2020)
A steakhouse along Sembawang Road.
#12 – SG Pho House (7 May 2020)
I believe the founder is a Vietnamese as the Facebook writing seems like it was translated from another language. Saw good reviews on many food websites.
#13 – Jekyll & Hyde (14 May 2020)
I patronised the bar with a bunch of financial bloggers. It was a cosy place and I remembered it was pretty packed and finding a spot was tough. Covid-19 was especially tough for the bars. Chua Ee Chien is the founder of Jekyll & Hyde and he shared intimate details about the revenue and costs in this interview.
22 Jun 2020 Update: The story continues. Jekyll & Hyde opened another outlet along Neil Road. Do support them!
#14 – Modesto’s (14 May 2020)
Ashok Melwani is the founder of Modesto’s and had two outlets. One at The Elizabeth Hotel and another at Orchard Rendezvous Hotel. The restaurants have been operating for 17 years and 23 years respectively.
#15 – Maggie Joan’s (21 May 2020)
#16 – Teafolia (1 Jun 2020)
Singaporean’s favourite drink – bubble tea. But still, Teafolia couldn’t survive past the Circuit Breaker period. They are looking for buyers for the business currently.
#17 – D’Underground Bar (1 Jun 2020)
A KTV bar and club located at International Building (Orchard Road), right next to the Thai embassy in Singapore. Shut down after 2 years. D’Underground is owned by Strumm’s Holdings.
#18 – Meats N Malts (1 Jun 2020)
Another restaurant under Strumm’s Holdings.
A spokesperson from Strumm’s Holding, which owns Meats N Malts, said that most of its customers were office workers in the area and most of them have not returned to work since the circuit breaker.
#19 – Starker (4 Jun 2020)
This is one of my favourite drinking holes. Freshly brewed unique flavoured beers. Lychee beer anyone? The Starker Group is part of a bigger entity, YSQ International.
#20 – Boufe Boutique Cafe (30 Jun 2020)
A very scenic place and some couples have held their wedding ceremonies on the premise. Closing down at the end of Jun 2020.
#21 – The Fabulous Baker Boy (Jul 2020)
Juwanda Hassim is the founder of The Fabulous Baker Boy and here’s a casual interview to find out more about the man behind this bakery.
#22 – Inspirit House (Aug 2020)
I love the scenic Punggol Settlement and the eateries are often crowded. I guess Covid-19 killed the crowd. One of the tenants, Inspirit House, is closing their business at the end of Aug 2020. Support them while you can!
SINGAPORE – OTHERS
#23 – Smartly (24 Mar 2020)
Smartly was one of tne earliest roboadvisors in Singapore. The startup was acquired by VinaCapital in 2019 but still couldn’t keep the it going amidst competition from other players.
#24 – HOOQ (30 Apr 2020)
The online video streaming wars have been intensifying with big players like Disney and Apple coming into the space. HOOQ is majority owned by Singtel and the service ended as of 30 Apr 2020.
#25 – HTL (5 May 2020)
A sofa maker. Used to be a listed company but has since filed for insolvency protection (paywall).
#26 – ZenRock (12 May 2020)
ZenRock is in the oil and gas business which has been a struggling industry. It owes more than US$600m and have filed for moratorium relief.
#27 – Hin Leong Trading (12 May 2020)
This was a juicy story about the founder of Hin Leong, hiding trading losses amounting to over S$1 billion. Hin Leong Trading is a pivotal oil and gas trader in Singapore and now it is placed under judicial management.
#28 – Streetsine (19 May 2020)
A property listing portal and a subsidiary of SPH. Applied for judicial management on 19 May 2020.
#29 – Smove (21 May 2020)
A car sharing company in Singapore. The business model should work here since cars are expensive. However, Smove was not allowed to operate during the Circuit Breaker period and it could have been too hard for them to survive it. The company is undergoing liquidation now.
#30 – Kidszania Singapore (15 Jun 2020)
This is disastrous news to the children and parents alike.
INTERNATIONAL – AIRLINES
#31 – Virgin Australia (21 Apr 2020)
Co-founded by British billionaire Richard Branson and former CEO Brett Godfrey. Virgin Australia is one of the largest airlines operating in Australia. It announced that it will go through voluntary administration on 21 Apr 2020.
#32 – LGW (22 Apr 2020)
Luftfahrgesellschaft Walter or LGW for short, was a German regional airline headquartered in Düsseldorf. Filed for bankruptcy on 22 Apr 2020.
#33 – RavnAir (28 Apr 2020)
A regional airline for the US state of Alaska plans to liquidate.
#34 – Avianca (11 May 2020)
Second largest airline in South America. Based in Colombia. Filed for bankruptcy.
#35 – Thai Airways (20 May 2020)
The national carrier of Thailand. Currently undergoing restructuring of its debt.
#36 – LATAM Air (26 May 2020)
The largest airline in Latin America. Based in Santiago, Chile, the airline has filed for bankruptcy.
INTERNATIONAL – RETAIL
#37 – Rubie’s Costume Party (4 May 2020)
Touted as the worlds largest costume manufacturer & supplier for Halloween has filed for bankruptcy.
#38 – Neiman Marcus (7 May 2020)
Neiman Marcus is an American chain of luxury departmental stores and has filed for bankruptcy.
#39 – Aldo (11 May 2020)
One of my favourite shoe shops. The Canadian fashion brand has filed for bankruptcy protection.
#40 – John Varvatos (12 May 2020)
With more than US$140 million in debt, menswear fashion John Varvatos, has filed for bankruptcy.
#41 – Modell’s Sporting Goods (12 May 2020)
Modell’s Sporting Goods is an American sporting goods retailer with locations in the Northeastern United States. It has filed bankruptcy.
#42 – JCPenny (15 May 2020)
A long troubled American department store chain that has finally threw in the towel and filed for bankruptcy.
#43 – J.Crew (15 May 2020)
Another American retailer bites the dust. J.Crew filed for bankruptcy.
#44 – Renown (16 May 2020)
A Japanese multi-brand apparel company filed for bankruptcy.
#45 – Reitmans (19 May 2020)
A Canadian retailing company specializing in women’s clothing has filed for bankruptcy protection.
#46 – Pier 1 Imports (1 Jun 2020)
An American home furnishing retailer filed for bankruptcy.
#47 – GNC (23 Jun 2020)
The supplement retailer has filed for bankruptcy on 23 Jun 2020. Closing 800 out of 1,200 stores and looking to sell the business.
INTERNATIONAL – OTHERS
#48 – Oneweb (28 Mar 2020)
An internet satellite company based in both UK and US. One of Softbank’s portfolio companies and had successfully launched 74 of the planned 648 satellites before it filed for bankruptcy.
#49 – Whiting Petroleum (2 Apr 2020)
An American shale oil company filed for bankruptcy.
#50 – Motif (18 Apr 2020)
Despite raising US$126.5m, online stock broking firm Motif, couldn’t keep the lights on and had to file for bankruptcy.
#51 – Diamond Offshore Drilling (27 Apr 2020)
An offshore drilling contractor filed for bankruptcy.
#52 – Blu Inc (30 Apr 2020)
A major Malaysian magazine publisher with titles such as Cleo, Her World, Cosmopolitan and Shape has closed down. It is also a subsidiary of SPH.
#53 – Gold’s Gym (5 May 2020)
An American chain of gyms with over 50 years of operating history has filed for bankruptcy.
#54 – Phoenix Commodities (11 May 2020)
An agriculture trader based in UAE is undergoing liquidation.
#55 – Comcar (18 May 2020)
A trucking service company in the US has filed for bankruptcy.
#56 – Pinehurst (19 May 2020)
A manufacturer of store fixtures and architectural millwork for leading luxury retailers around the globe. Some clients include Starbucks, Dior, Longchamp and Chanel. It has filed for bankruptcy.
#57 – Hertz (24 May 2020)
Second-largest US car rental company with a 100-year operating history has filed for bankruptcy.
#58 – Shamrock (14 Jun 2020)
A favourite haunt of Bruce Lee’s family, this historic hotel will be closing and has been put up for sale.
#59 – Wirecard (25 Jun 2020)
Wirecard filed for insolvency on 25 Jun 2020 after declaring US$2.1 billion worth of cash missing from its accounts.
P.S. Please let me know if I have missed out other companies or if there are new entries to be added in the comments below.