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Sunday, 23 February 2014

Winding-up order marks the end for Banquet Holdings

A winding-up order has been served on Banquet Holdings, putting the final nail in the coffin of the beleaguered foodcourt chain.

Once Singapore’s largest halal foodcourt operator, it now owes creditors about S$15mil (RM39mil).

Of this, S$10mil (RM26mil) is due to stallholders, a source close to the company told The Straits Times.

Banquet, which first opened in 1999, closed its final five outlets, including those at VivoCity, HarbourFront Centre and Jurong Point, three months ago. At its peak, it ran 46 outlets across the island.

But rising rentals and wages led to cash flow problems in 2010.

This resulted in its owing months of payment to foodstall operators, some of which remains unpaid.

Banquet sold its Causeway Point outlet for S$2mil (RM5.2mil) last January to pay off some of the debt.

But that did not help much.

The winding-up order was taken out by SL Properties. It is a unit of Singapore Land, which owns Clifford Centre, where Banquet ran its biggest outlet and is owed unpaid rent.

One chicken rice and noodle stallholder, Lee Hock Liong, told The Straits Times that he is still owed more than S$1mil (RM2.6mil) by the company. “I don’t think I can ever get back my money ... I consider it wasted business,” said the 57-year-old, who closed the last of his five Banquet stalls last June. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

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