More than 7,900 bicycles belonging to embattled bike-share operator ofo were auctioned off at a public sale
Over 7,900 ofo bicycles sold in public auction ofo is one of three major bike-share operators in Singapore to hit the skids. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

More than 7,900 bicycles belonging to embattled bike-share operator ofo were auctioned off at a public sale on Monday (April 1).

The sale, held at Bok Seng Logistics warehouse in Tuas Avenue 3, attracted around 30 individuals, many from scrap metal recycling companies.

Costa Rican investment group OSS Inversiones - the majority investor of bike-share firm oBike - was among those keen to snap up the two-wheelers, 7,000 of which were new, with many unassembled and still packed in boxes.

The sale also comprised over 57,000 pieces of bicycle spare parts, including lights, saddles, handlebars, and wheels.

One firm emerged as the winner at the auction with a bid of $99,000. The firm declined to be named or reveal the purpose of acquiring the bicycles.

Auction documents said creditor, Bok Seng Logistics, had obtained a writ of seizure and sale against debtor, Leading Logistics, a freight forwarding company.

Leading Logistics was involved in a commercial dispute with ofo, and had apparently intended to sell off the bicycles shipped from China, The Straits Times reported last June. But the planned sale did not take place.

It is believed that the ofo bicycles and parts auctioned off on Monday had been in Bok Seng Logistics warehouse for almost a year.

ofo has been hit by a a string of problems and its licence to operate bike-sharing services in Singapore was suspended in February by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for failing to meet regulatory requirements.

In December, the Chinese firm said that it was facing "immense" cash flow problems. The company laid off its entire operations team in Singapore without compensation in January, and also owes vendors here more than $700,000, according to Today newspaper.

Bok Seng Logistics declined to comment on the auction when contacted by ST, and Leading Logistics could not be reached.

During the auction, OSS Inversiones' highest bid was $89,000. The firm's representative, Mr Samuel Chaves, later said the company wanted to acquire and refurbish the bicycles to use them in a bike-rental operation abroad.

Malaysian businessman Rajesh J. Tekwani, another failed bidder, said that he wanted to buy and export the bikes to Malaysia and Bangladesh.

ofo is one of three major bike-share operators in Singapore to hit the skids. oBike abruptly quit the market in June last year and is currently in liquidation. In September, OSS Inversiones acquired a 66.87 per cent stake in oBike's global business.

Another company, Mobike, applied to the LTA in March to withdraw from Singapore, as part of a re-evaluation of its global presence.

The Business Times reported recently that Mobike could have its global operations outside China bought up by OSS Inversiones. A partnership with local bike-sharing firm Anywheel to manage Mobike's Singapore operations is also on the cards, if the deal pans out.