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"I am a BLOGGER NOT an expert. This is a BLOG not a 'go-to' website for official information. I represent no one's view save my own. I have neither legal nor financial training, nor do I have anything to do with the real estate industry. My understanding of the Collective Sale Process is from a layman's position only. My calculations, computations and tables are homespun and may contain errors. Please note that nothing in this blog constitutes any legal or financial advice to anyone reading it. You should refer to your lawyer, CSC or financial adviser for expert advice before making any decision. This disclaimer is applicable to every post and comment on the blog. Read at your own risk."
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There is one thing worse than an Enbloc ----- and that is an Enbloc done badly. Since the majority have the necessary mandate to sell, then they owe it to all SPs to make a success of it. Minority SPs can only watch and wait, if they sell then lets pray it's at a price we can move on with, if they don't sell, then we are happy to stay for a few more years.

HORIZON TOWERS

Horizon Towers decision out today - Minority lost

Finally, Horizon Towers gets go-ahead for en bloc sale
THE Strata Titles Board (STB) on Friday ruled that the hotly-disputed en-bloc sale of Horizon Towers can proceed, despite objections from the minority owners.
The collective sale first hit the spotlight after the STB did not even hear the objections of the minority owners, on the basis of a technicality.
The buyers – Hotel Properties and its two partners – then threatened to sue the owners of Horizon Towers for not keeping up their side of the bargain.
After HPL extended the sale completion deadline to Dec 11, the owners asked the High Court to rule that the STB should not have thrown out the case in the first place, a decision which the court gave.
STB has now heard the views of both majority and minority owners and has decided that the sale can go ahead.
Although the majority owners can breathe a sigh of relief at averting a potential lawsuit, the minority owners could still file an appeal against the STB ruling.Straits Times - Dec 7 2007

Strata Titles Board approves en bloc sale of Horizon Towers  
Almost a year of wrangling and millions of dollars in legal fees later, the controversial en bloc sale of Horizon Towers was eventually approved yesterday by the Strata Titles Board (STB).
Still, the board’s verdict by no means spells the end of the long-running saga – minority owners who oppose the sale could still appeal. That would put the sale on hold, and could mean another round of protracted legal disputes.
The STB’s much-awaited decision on Horizon Towers was delivered before a packed room in the board’s Maxwell Road headquarters. Tribunal chairman Philip Chan read out the prepared statement solemnly, before four teams of lawyers and some 70 owners, curious onlookers and the media.
Acknowledging that this collective sale ‘lasted longer than most other en bloc (sales)’ that have come before the STB, Mr Chan said that his tribunal eventually decided to grant the application for the collective sale of Horizon Towers, after considering the various merits of the case.
He said that the board had been ‘particularly guided’ by the recent decision reached in the Phoenix Court en bloc sale and the parliamentary debates on recent amendments to the legislation governing en bloc sales.
In the Phoenix Court case, Justice Andrew Ang threw out the sole minority owner’s objection to the collective sale of the freehold apartment block at St Thomas Walk. Justice Ang determined that it was important to look at the purposive nature of the law governing collective sales, which requires that 80 per cent of owners have to agree to the sale before it can go through. As the requisite majority was obtained in the Phoenix Court case, Justice Ang ruled that the transaction was not prejudicial to the minority – as the law had intended.
A similar stance was adopted by Senior Minister of State for Law, Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee, and Deputy Prime Minister and Law Minister S Jayakumar in the recent parliamentary debates on amendments to the Land Titles (Strata) Bill.
Prof Ho had said requiring 100 per cent consent among owners for an en bloc sale was untenable, as it would cause delays in any sale, acrimony and incur costs. He said that amendments to the law would provide adequate safeguards to protect minority interests and that the existing 80 per cent or 90 per cent majority required – depending on the age of the development – was satisfactory. DPM Jayakumar agreed that amendments to the Bill would provide more safeguards and transparency for all owners.
Tribunal chairman Mr Chan also said yesterday that the minority owners who opposed the sale had failed to prove their case that the transaction had been carried out in bad faith. The minorities had alleged, among other things, that the sales committee and its sales agent had not worked hard enough to get the best price possible for the development.
The tribunal will issue detailed grounds for its decision at a later date. It ruled yesterday that no order would be made for costs, meaning that the minority would not have to bear any portion of the costs of the proceedings.
The gallery’s reaction to the tribunal’s decision was muted – surprising for a case that has caused much emotional upheaval for its owners. Owners received the verdict quietly and shuffled out of the room.
The minority owners, who feel they will lose their homes with this sale, were accepting of the verdict. ‘The decision was not unexpected. We have done and will do what is principally correct,’ said Jasmine Tan, who declined to comment at this point on whether she would appeal against the STB’s decision.
And, expectedly, the majority owners – the over-80 per cent who agreed to the collective sale – were relieved with the STB’s decision. They face the threat of being sued for up to $1 billion by the buyers, Hotel Properties (HPL) and its partners, if the deal falls through.
Said a group of some 80 majority owners: ‘We are happy with the decision and very pleased that the en bloc is going through. We look forward to the buyers confirming that they will proceed with the deal and withdrawing the legal suits they have started against some owners.’
HPL and its partners, for their part, have expressed their happiness with STB’s decision – but have held back on any decision on the lawsuit, pending the actual completion of the sale.
‘We are pleased that the STB has allowed the collective sale and rejected the objectors’ case, including their allegations of bad faith,’ said HPL executive director Christopher Lim.
The buyers’ lawyer, Senior Counsel K Shanmugam of Allen & Gledhill, added: ‘Our client entered into the transaction in good faith and paid what was then a record price for the property. The application should therefore have proceeded smoothly, but the market changed. As a result, the case went through a number of critical junctures. We are, however, happy that the end result is that the tribunal has ruled that the sale should now go ahead.’
Business Times -8 Dec 2007 

Horizon Towers- DTZ: $500m was best en bloc price possible
 $500 million – the amount it eventually attracted – was realistically the best price Horizon Towers could have fetched in an en bloc sale, DTZ Debenham Tie Leung director Tang Wei Leng told the Strata Titles Board (STB) yesterday.

She was one of several marketing agents invited in early 2006 to make a presentation on the en bloc sale potential of the development to its newly formed sales committee.


Ms Tang’s testimony to STB yesterday suggests the eventual price of $500 million obtained by the Horizon Towers sales committee was the highest it could have hoped for, given some of the development’s shortcomings.


Ms Tang said the Leonie Hill 99-year leasehold development was a challenge to market, compared with other sites in the area.


She described the site as unattractive because it had a limited view, was oddly shaped and impossible to sub-divide. She also said the two access roads leading to it were not an advantage.

She compared it to its neighbouring development The Grangeford, which she said had a regular shape, a full view of Orchard Road and a Grange Road address.

Her testimony comes in the face of some of the arguments put up by minority owners – those who did not agree to the en bloc sale.


It is the minorities’ case that the collective sale of Horizon Towers should not be allowed because the deal was done in bad faith – as the sales committee did not do its best to secure the highest possible price.


Still, the minorities’ case got support when former sales committee member Henry Lim returned to the stand later yesterday. He had first testified last Friday.


Yesterday, he said the sales committee received a higher offer than the $500 million from Hotel Properties (HPL) and its partners, which was eventually accepted by the bulk of the owners.

Mr Lim said Hong Kong developer Vinyard Holdings, through its Malaysian lawyers Chan & Shu, offered $510 million for Horizon Towers. He said he made attempts to contact them but was advised by lawyer David Ang of Drew & Napier not to pursue the offer as Chan & Shu was an ‘unknown name’.

Mr Limsaid last Friday that there were at least four offers comparable to or better than HPL’s $500 million bid. He said three out of nine of the sales committee members were happy with the HPL offer but rushed into the deal and had failed to consult the majority owners before accepting it.

The hearing continues today.


Business Times - 13 Nov 2007

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