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STB rejects Finland Gardens’ collective sale

Lawyer says rare decision is based on sale price and less than 80% approval

THE Strata Titles Board (STB) threw out the collective sale application of Finland Gardens in Siglap after it failed to meet statutory requirements.

The rare decision to axe a bid for a sale en bloc followed five days of hearings that took place in July and early September.

The STB delivered its decision on Wednesday in an oral announcement but has yet to disclose the grounds for rejection. It may do so at a later date.

Mr Denis Tan, the lawyer for the owners objecting to the sale, heard the oral announcement. He said: ‘The board dismissed the application on the grounds that it found there was no 80 per cent majority and that the sale price was not obtained in good faith.’

The Finland Gardens sale required approval from at least 80 per cent of the owners.

Mainboard-listed company Sing Holdings bought the freehold 48-unit site in November last year for $49.5 million. The owners of each unit would stand to reap about $1 million to $1.27 million, depending on the size of the unit.

The owners of eight units objected to the sale; their grounds included not getting the best possible price for the estate.

In addition, they argued that a higher offer had come in after Sing Holdings’ offer, but the sale committee, instead of asking Sing Holdings to come up with a better price, had simply asked the company to match the later offer.

Clinic manager Valerie Chia, 46, said she and owners of the other seven units had objected to the sale from the start, more than a year ago.

The managing director of Sing Holdings, Mr Lee Sze Hao, said he would be asking the majority owners to file an appeal against the STB decision.

An industry observer said the ruling is significant because there is a general perception that collective sales are usually approved.

‘If you look at collective sale rules, their purpose is to facilitate such sales,’ he said.

Finland Gardens, located in the Siglap area at East Coast Avenue and East Coast Terrace, has a land area of 98,309 sq ft.

It comprises 48 units of walk-up apartments housed in two three-storey blocks.

Sing Holdings partnered Forum Asian Realty Income II to buy the estate. The United States-based fund holds a 30 per cent share of the joint venture.

In late October this year, the STB threw out the collective sale application for Airview Towers at St Thomas Walk.

Developer Bukit Sembawang, which had agreed to pay $202.17 million to buy the site in April, said recently that the application had been dismissed on a technicality. The sellers are planning to file an appeal, it added.

 

Source: The Straits Times 1 Dec 07

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