"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 case back in High Court
THE seemingly never-ending saga of the Horizon Towers collective sale is clearly losing steam.
Two of the nine sets of minority owners fighting the sale have dropped out of the High Court appeal that started yesterday, and even the number of onlookers in the public gallery was noticeably fewer than at previous hearings.
The dropouts - a couple representing themselves and a foreign firm - were not represented in court yesterday.
Minority owners Jasmine Tan and Rudy Darmawan are representing themselves and three others while Mr Quek Keng Seng is representing himself. The other minority owners are represented by Harry Elias Partnership.
Senior Counsel Harry Elias told the court that the $500 million sale price was not obtained in good faith. He highlighted the fact that a higher offer of $510 million from Vineyard Holdings in Hong Kong was not communicated to the owners.
Mr K. Shanmugam and his team from Allen & Gledhill, who are representing the buyers, applied successfully to participate in the court session.
Minority owners are appealing a decision in December last year by the Strata Titles Board (STB) to approve the $500 million sale of the 99-year leasehold Leonie Hill estate.
The on-off again sale has reflected the roller-coaster ride Singapore’s property market has been on over the past two years or so.
The Horizon Towers deal was inked in January last year, before the market shot up. Hotel Properties , Morgan Stanley Real Estate and Qatar Investment Authority agreed to pay $500 million.
But as the market boiled over last year, minority owners felt they were getting a raw deal and tried to halt the sale. They had some success when the STB rejected the sale on a technicality, but that ruling was overturned by the High Court in October. The STB approved the sale in December.
But the once-hot market has cooled considerably since then. Sale volumes have thinned out dramatically although prices have generally held up.
The minority owners are still fighting the sale as they never wanted to sell from Day One. And the sale price of less than $900 per sq ft is still below prevailing market rates, said an industry source.
The hearing before Justice Choo Han Teck continues today.

Straits Times - 20 Mar 2008
High Court appeal to set aside the order of the STB
Wednesday 19 March and Thursday 20 March
Court 4B at 10.00 am
The Honourable Justice Choo Han Teck to preside.
lawyers for some minority owners:
Other minority representing themselves
Today Online 20 March 2008
"Horizon minorities say sale was done in bad faith"
Business Times article 20 March 2008
High Court Written Decision 17 July 2008

Lo Pui Sang and Others v Mamata Kapildev Dave and Others (Horizon Partners Pte Ltd, intervener) and Other Appeals
[2008] SGHC 116

Right call made
Today - 21 July
Time to relook en bloc rules
Weekend Today - 19 July 2008
Another door closes on Horizon Minorities

High Court dismisses appeal, says there’s no proof that sale was in bad faith
Minority owners seeking to stop the en bloc sale of Horizon Towers have been defeated yet again. Singapore’s High Court yesterday dismissed their appeal, on the grounds that they failed to prove the sale was done in bad faith and prejudiced their rights.
This decision, coming on the heels of the High Court’s dismissal of an appeal against the sale of Gillman Heights Condominium, marks the second major defeat for minorities here.
The minority owners of Horizon Towers whom BT spoke to said they were still considering their options at this time. But they will soon be meeting to decide if they will take the matter to the Court of Appeal, or start a civil suit to claim for any financial loss - which will be their final recourse.
If they decide not to appeal further, the $500 million sale of the Leonie Hill development to a consortium led by Hotel Properties Ltd (HPL) will go through. It will also mean that the closely watched saga - which has been playing out in the public eye for more than a year - will finally come to a close.
HPL group executive director Chris Lim told BT: ‘We are pleased with the High Court judgment and hope to move forward with the deal as it’s been one-and-a-half years since the sale agreement was inked.’
Justice Choo Han Teck, who presided over the minorities’ appeal, said in his judgment yesterday that the minorities had failed to show that the Strata Titles Board (STB) erred in law in its decision to approve the en bloc sale in December.
The High Court only has powers to consider questions of law on appeal.
The minorities had argued that the sale had been conducted in bad faith. They claimed a better sale price might have been achieved if the sales committee had pursued a second offer from a party called Vineyard, which had reportedly offered $510 million. The minorities claimed the sales committee did not pursue the offer - and even concealed it - because the development’s sales agent, First Tree, was getting a higher sales commission from the HPL consortium.
But Justice Choo said the minorities failed to prove bad faith, as their argument was essentially concerned with whether the eventual sale price was fair - which is ‘a question of fact’ for the STB to decide, and not a question of law for the court to deliberate on.Justice Choo said, if the minorities feel the sales committee had deliberately or negligently not pursued the Vineyard offer, they can pursue a civil claim for the purported financial loss.
He also ruled that the minorities had failed to prove there was a lack of good faith in the way the sales proceeds were to be distributed amongst the various owners. The minorities argued the apportionment method used was unfair because it resulted in penthouse owners getting about 16 per cent less on a per- square-metre basis, compared to non-penthouse owners.
Justice Choo said there can’t be a lack of good faith in the selection of the apportionment method just because it was the only one considered or it led to some owners getting more than others. He noted that the STB had considered the evidence of several experts and it seemed no one method would satisfy everyone.
He added that, even if the STB had deemed the chosen method inappropriate, it would be an error of fact and not an error of law.
He also dismissed the minorities’ arguments that the en bloc sale was unconstitutional, and that the sale agreement had lapsed by the time the STB approved the sale.
Justice Choo also noted the ‘intrigue’ that has surrounded the en bloc sale of Horizon Towers. There have been numerous accusations on the conduct of the various parties involved - ranging from whether the sales committee should have worked harder to get a better sale price, to whether the minorities were only against the sale because the price was too low.‘
The STB was not bound to examine the rights and preferences of each individual subsidiary proprietor and it was not the forum to inquire into the conduct of individual members of the SC (sales committee), or even the SC as a whole,’ Justice Choo said. ‘If the STB were to embark on the kind of inquiry and make the findings the appellants say it ought to have done, the STB would never get its job done within the time limited.’
Business Times - 19 July 2008

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