Most oBike users yet to file claim for refund of deposit

According to oBike's records, it has more than 220,000 deposit holders in Singapore.
According to oBike's records, it has more than 220,000 deposit holders in Singapore. PHOTO: ST FILE

Only $438,900 worth of claims filed out of $8.9m oBike owes its 220,000 users here

The majority of oBike users have not yet filed claims to retrieve their deposits, the firm's liquidators revealed yesterday.

But even for those who have filed claims, there is no timeline yet as to when they can get their money back as liquidator FTI Consulting continues debt settlement talks with oBike's new majority shareholder.

The bicycle operator ended its Singapore operations unexpectedly last June, after about 18 months of operation here. Its sudden exit had left users wondering whether they would get a refund of the deposit of up to $49 which they had to make in order to use the bikes.

As of Tuesday noon, deposit holders have lodged only $438,878.43 worth of claims, a small percentage of the $8.91 million that the firm registered in its records.

"Quite a lot of deposit holders are yet to file their claims with the liquidators," said FTI senior managing director Joshua Taylor.

According to oBike's records, it has more than 220,000 deposit holders in Singapore.

The liquidators did not give a breakdown of the number of people who have already filed for refunds at the meeting with oBike's creditors at Shaw Tower yesterday.

 
 
 

About 18 people, made up of both oBike users with unrefunded deposits and companies which are owed money, attended the 42-minute session.

In contrast to the fraction of users who are looking to retrieve their deposits, a much larger proportion of other creditors have already filed claims against oBike.

As of Tuesday noon, trade creditors, vendors, regulatory agencies and town councils have filed $768,700 worth of claims against oBike, a higher number than about $497,700 of outstanding claims stated in the firm's records.

Mr Taylor also revealed that FTI had recovered about $541,000 from oBike through selling its bicycles and recovering funds held by third-party service providers.

Creditors are unlikely to receive a payout from this sum, he said in response to a question from an attendee. "That is an option, but if you look at it, there are cost and expenses associated with liquidation... So if we did that, I don't think there will be a great return at all to creditors," said Mr Taylor.

A lifeline for creditors, however, could come in the form of oBike's new owner, Costa Rican investment group OSS Inversiones. FTI said it is working with OSS on the proposed terms for the latter to settle outstanding claims against oBike.

Mr Taylor said: "We will continue to liaise with the investor on an agreement, and hopefully at some point in the near future, we will make a public announcement with the investor regarding whether an agreement has been reached."

He added that FTI had already provided additional information on claims against oBike to OSS, as requested by the group.

But a representative for OSS, Mr Samuel Chaves, told The Straits Times later yesterday that it had yet to receive such information.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2019, with the headline 'Most oBike users yet to file claim for refund of deposit'. Print Edition | Subscribe