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Industrial building's collective sale gets nod from top court

Industrial building's collective sale gets nod from top court

Source: Straits Times
Date Published: 03 Dec 2018
Author: K.C. Vijayan

It dismisses unit owner's bid to block deal and finds sale committee did not act in bad faith.

The top court gave the go-ahead for a rare collective sale of an industrial building when it dismissed a bid by the lone objector to block the $430 million deal.

Unit owner Low Kwang Tong claimed the collective sale committee had acted in bad faith in determining the size of his share of the collective sale proceeds under the agreed method of apportionment.

But the Court of Appeal comprising Judge of Appeal Tay Yong Kwang and Justices Belinda Ang and Quentin Loh found the trial judge had been correct in granting the collective order.

"Like the trial judge, we see nothing to satisfy us that the collective sale transaction was not in good faith and therefore there was no reason for the Court not to approve it," said Judge of Appeal Tay on Thursday on the court's behalf.

The eight-floor Citimac Industrial Complex is a freehold building near Tai Seng MRT station comprising a factory, warehouse and showroom units. It was sold to a foreign developer last year.

Owners of the 110 strata units ranging in size from about 160 sq m to 500 sq m could get between $2.1 million and $10 million per unit.

Obtaining some 83.83 per cent consent by share value from owners, the sale committee applied in October last year to the Strata Titles Board for a collective sale order. But Mr Low and another unit owner separately filed objections, which led to a stop sale order from the Strata Titles Board in January.

The case went to the High Court where Mr Low argued the sale process had been carried out in bad faith as he had converted his space, with approval from the authorities, to a higher-value use.

He claimed his unit, previously a showroom, had been leased as a canteen since 2009, but was priced as a showroom without explanation.

However, High Court Judicial Commissioner Ang Cheng Hock held the defendants had not shown there was bad faith in the collective sale process, for various reasons.

He added most of the arguments raised were "thinly disguised complaints about the amounts they would receive as their share because of the circumstances that were unique to them".

Mr Low, represented by Mr Adrian Tan Gim Hai and four others, appealed. The sale committee was defended by lawyer Jason Lim Chen Thor and two others.

The top court dismissed the appeal and ordered Mr Low to pay $35,000 in costs.

The court said if the valuer's report had been clearer on why it had chosen to price Mr Low's unit as it did, it could have "dispelled Mr Low's suspicion that the subsequent explanations were all afterthoughts to try to cover up a mistake".


Owners of the 110 strata units ranging in size from about 160 sq m to 500 sq m could get between $2.1 million and $10 million per unit.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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