Debt-laden Newstead calls in liquidators amid debts of more than $60 million

Electronics retailer owes creditors, including its staff, more than $60m

Homegrown electronics retailer Newstead Technologies is winding up its business amid accumulated debts of more than $60 million, The Straits Times has learnt.

Its debt mountain includes about $4.7 million owed to Apple South Asia, while Newstead employees have around $1.6 million outstanding owed to them, according to a preliminary list of 170 creditors seen by The Straits Times.

The appointed provisional liquidator, Mr Tee Wey Lih of Acres Advisory, confirmed the total claim amount, which it is still recovering.

"Repayment to creditors is dependent on how much we can recover from the assets of the company," Mr Tee said.

While declining to confirm the actual payout to creditors, he said that in accordance with the Companies' Act, the claims of employees are of higher priority. The payments are slated to take place in the first half of the year, he said.

Newstead sold off its 10 Nubox outlets to local Apple reseller Elush, which operates the iStudio and Epicentre stores, last November.

Sources said the sale might help to reduce the amount owed to Apple, which declined to comment when contacted.

Newstead now operates two outlets - at Nex @ Serangoon and Jurong Point - after a restructuring.

It will cease all retail operations by the end of the month.

It had more than 40 outlets at the peak of its business.

Its troubles mean that Funan DigitalLife Mall will not have Newstead as an anchor IT tenant when the refurbished centre re-opens in the next few months, said a spokesman for CapitaLand, which manages Funan.

The retailer had originally intended to occupy multiple concept stores spread across 15,000 sq ft at the new mall.

The mall's confirmed IT and consumer electronics tenants include AddOn Systems, TK Foto and GamePro, the spokesman added.

Other Newstead creditors include government agencies such as the Comptroller of GST and GovTech, which are claiming half a million dollars combined.

  • $4.7m

  • Amount Newstead owes Apple South Asia. It also owes its employees about $1.6 million, according to a preliminary list of 170 creditors.

 
 

Some unusual creditors include cosmetics retailers Estee Lauder Cosmetics and Fragrance Du Bois, as well as vehicle-leasing service provider Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Singapore, which has since been renamed Daimler Financial Services Africa & Asia Pacific.

Liquidation experts said these parties could be customers which had paid a deposit, or advertisers that had paid in advance for services.

Newstead was established in 1998 with its first shops at Sim Lim Square and the old Funan DigitalLife Mall.

Its last major move involved setting up at Marina Square Mall in mid-2016 following the closure of the old Funan complex.

It occupied 10,000 sq ft of space at Marina Square and had its own DigitalStyle and @notebook.com outlet and concept stores which it operated for computer brands Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo before their sudden closures late last year.