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Thread: Horizon Towers: bid for judicial review fails

  1. #1
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    Default Horizon Towers: bid for judicial review fails

    Published June 19, 2007

    Sept hearing casts cloud over Horizon Towers deal

    Sellers have to grant extension if Strata Title Board approval not in by Aug 11

    By SIOW LI SEN


    (SINGAPORE) Hotel Properties Ltd's (HPL) $500 million purchase of Horizon Towers condominium in an en bloc sale now hangs in the balance as the Strata Titles Board (STB) has pencilled in an appearance of objectors to the sale in September, which passes a crucial Aug 11 deadline.



    Horizon Towers: With so many senior lawyers joining the fray, this is turning out to be the collective sale with the highest number of Singapore's top counsel involved


    Under the agreement, if STB approval is not given by Aug 11, which is six months after the signing of the agreement on Feb 12, 2007, there is a provision for an extension of another four months which can be given by the sellers at their discretion.

    If the sellers, who are represented by Horizon Towers' sales committee, refuse to grant an extension, the deal could be off.

    HPL has hired legal heavyweight K Shanmugam of Allen & Gledhill to protect its interests.

    At stake is HPL's paper profit of another $500 million - a result of the relentless climb in property prices.

    HPL group executive director Chris Lim confirmed that the company has taken on Mr Shanmugam. 'We have appointed Allen & Gledhill to protect our rights . . . we took a risk,' said Mr Lim.

    'If the price dropped, we would be legally bound to honour the agreement,' he said. 'We take our commitment seriously. It's not just HPL which is involved; there's also our partners, Morgan Stanley and the Qatari government,' said Mr Lim.

    In January, almost 84 per cent of owners of units in Horizon Towers signed the agreement to sell en bloc to Hotel Properties, Morgan Stanley Real Estate and the Qatar Investment Authority, the investment arm of the Emirate of Qatar, for $500 million.

    That meets the legal requirement of more than 80 per cent of owners assenting to a sale in the case of properties more than 10 years old.

    Those who didn't sign, the objectors, can appeal to the STB.

    At the time the agreement was signed, the $500 million price tag at $800 per square foot (psf) was the largest en bloc deal. However, neighbouring Grangeford Apartments, which is five years older, is currently asking for more than $2,000 psf.

    'Of course, now the market has appreciated and we are rewarded,' said Mr Lim.

    Last Friday, the STB registrar set the September date for the tribunal to hear the objectors to the sale with their battery of lawyers.

    The date was moved from initial tentative dates of July 25-29.

    It is understood that Philip Fong, senior partner at Harry Elias, hired by one of the objectors only last week, together with Tan Kok Quan Partnership, retained by other objectors, had told the registrar they needed more time for discovery and preparation.

    With so many senior lawyers getting into the fray, Horizon Towers is turning out to be the collective sale with the highest number of Singapore's top counsel involved.

    Senior Counsel Chelva Rajah of Tan, Rajah and Cheah is acting for a group seeking to oust the sales committee at an extraordinary general meeting, which was held last night.

    The meeting was adjourned with the owners agreeing to go to court to find out if the EGM has the power to remove the sales committee.

    This group had said they were not satisfied with the sales committee's performance, and complained about the committee not canvassing the views of the rest of the owners prior to the sale, despite the improved market conditions.

    The unhappy group members pointed out that nine months had passed from the time the sales committee had been elected to negotiate the sale and its eventual agreement.

    Jimmy Yim, Senior Counsel at Drew & Napier, which is handling the collective sale, had previously told BT that the EGM does not have the power to remove the sales committee.

    There have also been rumours that HPL is exploring paying more to the objectors, so that no more STB hearings would be needed - though that would likely kill off future en bloc sales in Singapore.

    'No developer would offer minorities extra money. If one does it, where does it end?' said a property broker.

    HPL's Mr Lim said: 'We're not in a position to offer more. We are committed to what we've signed.'

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sept hearing casts cloud over Horizon Towers deal

    I think, If more than 80% have signed the agreement to sell , then they have to sell no matter how high is the property price today or otherwise it will be considered breach of contract. Even if you put 1000 lawyers to back you up you still lose the case. Thats the Law.

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    Default Re: Sept hearing casts cloud over Horizon Towers deal

    Under the agreement, if STB approval is not given by Aug 11, which is six months after the signing of the agreement on Feb 12, 2007, there is a provision for an extension of another four months which can be given by the sellers at their discretion.

    If the sellers, who are represented by Horizon Towers' sales committee, refuse to grant an extension, the deal could be off.


    So, on the basis that if STB approval is not granted by Aug 11, 2007 HPL may lose the deal through no fault of the company??????????????? What sort of condition is this? Why is this clause required in first place?

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    Default Re: Sept hearing casts cloud over Horizon Towers deal

    Every developer worth his salt would know that any en-bloc sale is a conditional sale and is dependent on whether STB gives its approval or not. And whether STB gives its approval is dependent on whether the Strata Tiltle Act Act is followed closely or not.
    Therefore no confirmed unconditional deal has been made yet .
    The developer with top notch lawyers should have check and made sure that the en-bloc sale was done properly before they count their chickens and agreed to the four months deadline.

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    Default Re: Sept hearing casts cloud over Horizon Towers deal

    Assuming HPL lose the deal, can the company sue the lawyers, who was engaged on their behalf, for negligence?

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    Talking Re: Sept hearing casts cloud over Horizon Towers deal

    If HPL win this case, All horizon twr owners will be yearning and crying especially when they heard that The Ardmore sold for $2300. What can I say, This kind of thing does happen. Why did you signed it from the first place???

    Those 20% that reject the sale from the 1st place will find their blood pressure rising. lol

    My friend who live in elizabeth height I think, get an en bloc offer for about $3 million + for each unit around Jan 2007. They are lucky that they did not sign the contract.
    I heard they said other developers are already offering them $4 million + now.

    About $2200+ psf if Iam not wrong.
    Many developers are desperate looking for prime areas.

    I will not surprise to see more and more en bloc deal at above $2000 later this year.

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    Smile Re: Sept hearing casts cloud over Horizon Towers deal

    Its all because human beings tend to compare. At the end of the day, be happy with what you have. You will happier with the time spent. In any case, when you come to this earth empty handed when you go off, you can't bring anything along with you!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sigh, really don't understand human nature!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Default Earlier date set for hearing on Horizon Towers' sale

    June 20, 2007

    Earlier date set for hearing on Horizon Towers' sale

    Strata Titles Board said to have set aside five days next month, before deal's deadline

    By K.C. Vijayan, Law Correspondent


    THE hearing on the disputed Horizon Towers en bloc sale has been brought forward to next month, thus averting fears that the $500 million deal could be derailed by a closure deadline.

    Collective sale agreements have to be closed within six months of being signed or go back to the sales committee - a potentially divisive procedure that can kill a sale.

    That gave Horizon Towers - its deal was agreed on Feb 12 - a cut- off date of Aug 11. But that raised a serious problem for the sellers as the dispute hearing was not scheduled to be held until September.

    But The Straits Times learnt yesterday from a reliable source that the Strata Titles Board had rescheduled the hearing for five days, starting on July 26.

    The two blocks at Leonie Hill have been pledged to be sold en bloc for $500 million to Hotel Properties (HPL), Morgan Stanley Real Estate and Qatar Investment Authority, the investment arm of the Emirate of Qatar.

    The deal won backing from 84 per cent of the owners - exceeding the 80 per cent requirement - but it still needs approval from the Strata Titles Board.

    Since that initial agreement, eight owners have objected to the sale. Efforts by the board to broker a compromise have come to nought, so a full hearing has been called.

    It is understood that the dissenters object in principle to procedures leading up to the sale and not to the actual price offered.

    But their sentiments are shared by several other unit owners who initially consented to the sale but are now unhappy over the price.

    They point to the recent property boom that has seen the neighbouring Grangeford Apartments, which is five years older than Horizon, going for an asking price of more than $2,000 per sq ft (psf).

    This dwarfs the $800 psf agreed for Horizon Towers.

    The mood now is in stark contrast to the rejoicing late last year, when the owners were jubilant at the price the 23-year-old Horizon Towers had fetched.

    Most owners in the 199 apartments in the 210-unit estate would walk out with about $2.3 million, while owners of the 11 penthouses would reap $4 million or more.

    If the deal fails to meet the Aug 11 deadline, the initial deposit advanced to the sellers would have to be returned but it is unclear if they would face any liabilities if the sale does not go through.

    Senior Counsel Jimmy Yim of Drew & Napier, who is acting for the sellers, said yesterday: 'This is not a straightforward situation.'

    He declined to comment on what would happen if the sale is aborted.

    On Monday, more than 100 residents attended an extraordinary general meeting that sought to replace the existing sales committee.

    Senior Counsel C.R. Rajah of Tan, Rajah and Cheah, who is acting for several owners, said they had a right to convene the meeting and decide who should represent them. But he stressed that the meeting had nothing to do with calling off the contract to sell the property.

    One resident suggested that the existing committee resign en masse to enable others to be appointed. Another expressed concern over legal costs if the move triggered legal action by the buyers.

    'I would prefer not to be sued and I would want my money faster,' said one resident.

    Another resident feared that a new sales committee could raise legal questions and add to the general uncertainty over whom residents had to deal with.

    Former Nominated Member of Parliament and senior lawyer Shriniwas Rai, who is representing a client-owner, proposed that the meeting be adjourned for six weeks to allow the differing parties to resolve the matter amicably. The suggestion was taken up by residents.

    Senior Counsel K.Shanmugam of Allen & Gledhill, who is acting for HPL, said when contacted yesterday: 'There is a contract and we are expecting the contract to be fulfilled.'

    [email protected]

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Earlier date set for hearing on Horizon Towers' sale

    There seem to be two different story on the outcome of the EGM. One is that the matter of electing a new Sales Committe will be referred to the court and the other is for the differing parties to settle the matter amicably within 6 weeks. I wonder which is the real outcome?
    I also wonder why the STB originally set the hearing in Sept and then decide to change it to July. Is it to meet the deadline? Didn't they know that there was a deadline in the first place?

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    Default Re: Earlier date set for hearing on Horizon Towers' sale

    Quote Originally Posted by mr funny
    June 20, 2007

    Earlier date set for hearing on Horizon Towers' sale

    Strata Titles Board said to have set aside five days next month, before deal's deadline

    By K.C. Vijayan, Law Correspondent


    THE hearing on the disputed Horizon Towers en bloc sale has been brought forward to next month, thus averting fears that the $500 million deal could be derailed by a closure deadline.

    Collective sale agreements have to be closed within six months of being signed or go back to the sales committee - a potentially divisive procedure that can kill a sale.

    That gave Horizon Towers - its deal was agreed on Feb 12 - a cut- off date of Aug 11. But that raised a serious problem for the sellers as the dispute hearing was not scheduled to be held until September.

    But The Straits Times learnt yesterday from a reliable source that the Strata Titles Board had rescheduled the hearing for five days, starting on July 26.

    The two blocks at Leonie Hill have been pledged to be sold en bloc for $500 million to Hotel Properties (HPL), Morgan Stanley Real Estate and Qatar Investment Authority, the investment arm of the Emirate of Qatar.

    The deal won backing from 84 per cent of the owners - exceeding the 80 per cent requirement - but it still needs approval from the Strata Titles Board.

    Since that initial agreement, eight owners have objected to the sale. Efforts by the board to broker a compromise have come to nought, so a full hearing has been called.

    It is understood that the dissenters object in principle to procedures leading up to the sale and not to the actual price offered.

    But their sentiments are shared by several other unit owners who initially consented to the sale but are now unhappy over the price.

    They point to the recent property boom that has seen the neighbouring Grangeford Apartments, which is five years older than Horizon, going for an asking price of more than $2,000 per sq ft (psf).

    This dwarfs the $800 psf agreed for Horizon Towers.

    The mood now is in stark contrast to the rejoicing late last year, when the owners were jubilant at the price the 23-year-old Horizon Towers had fetched.

    Most owners in the 199 apartments in the 210-unit estate would walk out with about $2.3 million, while owners of the 11 penthouses would reap $4 million or more.

    If the deal fails to meet the Aug 11 deadline, the initial deposit advanced to the sellers would have to be returned but it is unclear if they would face any liabilities if the sale does not go through.

    Senior Counsel Jimmy Yim of Drew & Napier, who is acting for the sellers, said yesterday: 'This is not a straightforward situation.'

    He declined to comment on what would happen if the sale is aborted.

    On Monday, more than 100 residents attended an extraordinary general meeting that sought to replace the existing sales committee.

    Senior Counsel C.R. Rajah of Tan, Rajah and Cheah, who is acting for several owners, said they had a right to convene the meeting and decide who should represent them. But he stressed that the meeting had nothing to do with calling off the contract to sell the property.

    One resident suggested that the existing committee resign en masse to enable others to be appointed. Another expressed concern over legal costs if the move triggered legal action by the buyers.

    'I would prefer not to be sued and I would want my money faster,' said one resident.

    Another resident feared that a new sales committee could raise legal questions and add to the general uncertainty over whom residents had to deal with.

    Former Nominated Member of Parliament and senior lawyer Shriniwas Rai, who is representing a client-owner, proposed that the meeting be adjourned for six weeks to allow the differing parties to resolve the matter amicably. The suggestion was taken up by residents.

    Senior Counsel K.Shanmugam of Allen & Gledhill, who is acting for HPL, said when contacted yesterday: 'There is a contract and we are expecting the contract to be fulfilled.'

    [email protected]
    Dont' understand why Senior Counsel Jimmy Yim of Drew & Napier, who is acting for the sellers, said yesterday: 'This is not a straightforward situation.'?

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