Friday, April 3, 2009


Source : The Straits Times, April 2, 2009

THE Court of Appeal halted the contentious Horizon Towers collective sale once and for all on Thursday with a hard-hitting ruling that singled out the estate's sales committee for scathing criticism.

Horizon Towers at Leonie Hill. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

The dramatic judgement caught many by surprise and vindicated the four minority owners who opposed the sale from day one - almost three years ago - and spent nearly $1.5 million in legal costs.

One of those owners, Mr Hendra Gunawan, told The Straits Times on Thursday: 'I am very happy that at last we can protect our homes.'

'We can't do anything about it if 80 per cent agrees to sell but they have to do it properly so that everyone's home will be sold at a proper price.'

Industry experts are also hailing the decision as a landmark judgement that will set clear parameters for en bloc deals.

Thursday's ruling was clear in its condemnation of the way the en bloc process was conducted and was particularly critical of the estate's sales committee.

It said the committee had breached its duties as a fiduciary agent for all owners, including minority ones.

Among a litany of criticism, it pointed to the committee's failure to follow up on a higher offer for the estate, its undue haste in agreeing to a sale price in a rising market and its sloppy procedures in appointing a marketing agent and keeping owners up to speed on the transaction.

But perhaps the serious censure was directed at its failure to take heed of a possible conflict of interest that arose when two owners bought additional units in the estate just before they were appointed to the sales committee.

'The sale committee's duty is to achieve the best price under the circumstances, and not just a fair price,' said Mr Karamjit Singh, managing director of Credo Real Estate, which has handled many collective sales but not Horizon Towers.

Read the full report in Friday's edition of The Straits Times.

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