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Thread: Gillman en bloc sale to proceed

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    Default Gillman en bloc sale to proceed

    http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/...85271,00.html?

    Published June 26, 2008

    Gillman en bloc sale to proceed

    Judge says minority owners did not provide adequate reasons to stop sale

    By MICHELLE QUAH


    THE High Court has dismissed an appeal by minority owners of Gillman Heights Condominium to stop its en bloc sale.


    High rise tussle: Gillman Heights is set to be sold to CapitaLand, Hotel Properties and two private funds

    This means that the $548 million sale of the development to CapitaLand, Hotel Properties and two private funds is set to go through.

    Justice Choo Han Teck, in his judgment yesterday, said that he was 'satisfied' that the appeal by the minority owners 'must fail', as they did not provide adequate reasons as to why he should stop the sale.

    The Strata Titles Board (STB) had approved the collective sale of the 607-unit, 99-year leasehold estate late last year. But a group of minority owners, represented by Senior Counsel Michael Hwang, had appealed that decision.

    They argued that the STB had erred in approving the sale. They said that collective sale rules do not apply to Gillman Heights, which is an former HUDC estate. They also argued that insufficient notices were put up informing owners of the proposed sale and that the collective sale agreement - signed by the consenting owners - was not validly extended before the deal was brokered with the CapitaLand consortium.

    Justice Choo ruled yesterday that the law does not mean to treat privatised HUDC estates differently from other private strata developments with a management corporation. He said that a privatised HUDC estate can participate in the benefits of an en bloc sale if the requisite conditions are met. He also agreed with the STB's ruling that sufficient notices had been posted and that the collective sale agreement had been validly extended.

    The minorities had also argued that the sale was done in bad faith. They said that the National University of Singapore (NUS), which owns a sizeable chunk of Gillman Heights and had agreed to the en bloc sale, has a 15 per cent stake in Ankerite, the entity that purchased Gillman Heights.

    Justice Choo noted yesterday that NUS's relationship with the buyer - which came to light after the STB approval - was not presented before the STB at the relevant time. 'A court deliberates only on the basis of the evidence before it,' he said. He said that it was strictly up to the STB to judge if there was an act of bad faith by reason of the relationship between NUS and Ankerite - but that he was not persuaded that the board should hear the issue again.

    Justice Choo also agreed with the STB that there was no bad faith regarding the sale price of Gillman Heights, as it was $20 million above the reserve price.

    The minorities had also argued that one of the STB board members, Michael Ng of Savills (Singapore), was a real estate valuation professional who had worked on projects involving the consenting owners' lawyers.

    But Justice Choo said: 'I am of the view that it is too tenuous an objection. Professionals cannot avoid working on the same projects. It does not follow that they necessarily agree or have reasons to be biased or prejudiced against other professionals.'

    Gillman Heights owners will get between $870,000 and $950,000 per unit in the en-bloc sale. But many of those objecting to the sale say that it is more important for them to be able to keep their homes.

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    Default High Court dismisses appeal against Gillman Heights sale

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Money/St...ry_251829.html

    June 26, 2008

    High Court dismisses appeal against Gillman Heights sale

    By Joyce Teo, Property Correspondent


    MOVING ON: CapitaLand can now proceed to complete its $548 million purchase of the Alexandra Road condo, unless the objecting owners take their case to the Court of Appeal. Yesterday, the High Court rejected all eight objections raised against the collective sale.

    THE High Court has dismissed an appeal by owners objecting to the collective sale of Gillman Heights Condominium, which means the $548 million sale can go ahead.

    CapitaLand, the lead buyer of the 99-year leasehold Alexandra Road site, can now proceed to complete the deal, provided the objecting owners do not appeal against the High Court's decision.

    Yesterday, about three months after the case was heard, Justice Choo Han Teck rejected all eight objections raised by the minority owners.

    Among their contentions was a claim that the Strata Titles Board (STB) had made a mistake granting the order approving the sale, as the minimum consent rules did not apply to Gillman Heights, a former HUDC estate.

    The judge said the requisite majority consent does apply to privatised estates such as Gillman Heights. For instance, the level of consent required is pegged to the age of the building, rather than the temporary occupation permit or certificate of statutory completion dates - neither of which applies to former HUDC estates.

    The owners also objected to the fact that the link between the buyer and the National University of Singapore (NUS) - which owns 303 of the 607 units - was not disclosed to the STB, which approved the sale late last year.

    NUS had taken a 15 per cent stake in the buyer Ankerite, whose other shareholders are CapitaLand, Hotel Properties and a private fund, after it agreed to the sale.

    Justice Choo said he was not persuaded that the STB should hear the parties again on this issue.

    He said there was no bad faith in this case, as the sale price was $20 million above the reserve level. The price works out to $363 per sq ft of potential gross floor area.

    A minority owner, who wanted to be known only as Mr Kok, said he was still digesting the decision.

    'We will have to discuss among themselves and with our lawyer to see whether we should take the case to the Court of Appeal.'

    Yesterday, CapitaLand said it looked forward to developing the site into an 'innovative' residential project with about 1,200 homes.

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    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...356394/1/.html

    Gillman Heights en-bloc sale to move ahead following court's ruling

    By Zul Othman, TODAY | Posted: 25 June 2008 2345 hrs


    SINGAPORE : After three months of deliberation, Justice Choo Han Teck has delivered a 31-page judgment that - for now - signals the end of the Gillman Heights en-bloc saga.

    However, it was not the outcome hoped for by the 22 minority owners seeking to scupper the S$548 million deal.

    The judge said the specific issue was not one concerning protection for the minority, but "whether a privatised HUDC estate can participate in the benefits of an en-bloc sale if the requisite conditions are met".

    Under current laws, a 90 per cent approval is required for estates less than 10 years old and 80 per cent for those older.

    Some 87.5 per cent of the 608 unit owners had agreed to the sale of Gillman Heights, built in 1984.

    On the issue of the estate's age, which the plaintiffs claimed was less than 10 years old since the condo only underwent privatisation in 1995 and acquired the Temporary Occupation Permits or Certificates of Strata Completion (CSC) in 2002, the judge ruled that the estate was more than 10 years old.

    He said that there was also no bad faith and breach of natural justice due to the involvement of the National University of Singapore (NUS), which held 46.86 per cent share at the development.

    Five months after the en-bloc sale was inked in February last year, it emerged that NUS was also a shareholder of Gillman Heights' purchaser Ankerite Pte Ltd.

    While some owners claimed this was a conflict of interest, Justice Choo said NUS was entitled to exercise its right as a consenting subsidiary proprietor (CSP) to vote for the collective sale.

    He added: "The minority CSPs were duly noted of the NUS vote and execution of the collective sale agreement about six weeks before the application for approval was submitted to the Strata Titles Board."

    Futhermore, Gillman Heights was sold before property prices skyrocketed last year, so "it would not be appropriate for the Board or this court to assess good faith with regard to the sale price of the development through the lens of hindsight".

    Despite the setback, one minority owner - who declined to be named - said he is not giving up the fight.

    "Many of us are still disappointed by the conflict of interest and we will stick it out till the end and take this case to the Court of Appeals."

    But Lee & Lee senior partner Quek Mong Hua, who represented the majority owners, said: "They have every right to appeal, but they have to consider if it is in their interest bearing in mind the cost."

    For now, Mr Quek said his clients were happy the judgement is out and they are hoping to complete the sale. - TODAY

  4. #4
    Isaac Tan
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    Default Who's paying the costs?

    How come there's no mention of who's paying the costs? It would be really 'siong' for the minority who lost to have to shoulder the entire costs.

  5. #5
    hoyuetping
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    we really hope that the minority will not go the appeals court.

    for the past year, we have been living in great uncertainty, and with the approval by the high court should bring the whole saga to a closure.

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    Junior blackjack21trader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac Tan
    How come there's no mention of who's paying the costs? It would be really 'siong' for the minority who lost to have to shoulder the entire costs.
    Hi Professor Tan, no classes today?

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