Thursday, 23 August 2007

HPL to sue Horizon Towers' Majority Owners

The latest news on the Horizon Towers case just emerged tonight at 8pm+: HPL intends to sue the majority owners of Horizon Towers. This came from SGX and the relevant announcement is included below:

The Company [HPL] wishes to announce that Horizon Partners has today instituted proceedings in the High Court of Singapore for, inter alia:
(i) a declaration that the vendors are in breach of the Option to Purchase;
(ii) an order that the vendors do everything in their power to obtain a collective sale order from the STB; and
(iii) further or alternatively, damages for breach of contract in addition to or in lieu of the order in (ii) above or at common law, such damages to be assessed.

More news as it emerges. It's a major reason that one should always be very aware of their rights before they sign their CSAs, and importantly, what IS in their CSAs that opens the way for proceedings such as above to happen to owners.

Update: Midnight - CNA has started reporting it here.

Update: ST 24/8/07 - STB gave the reason for dismissal: Documents carrying signatures of 3 majority owners were not included in the application. Original SC members made a statutory declaration that all signed documents were included (when they were not). STB are not empowered to allow an amendment to be made to an application once submitted.

Update: ST 25/8/07 - HT owners will meet on 29/8 and 9/9 to discuss path forward. According to ST, two possibilities are available. (1) They could give in, allow the sale to go through at $500m and possibly pay damages to HPL. (2) They fight, and start 3rd party proceedings against possibly agent, lawyer and/or SC.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

As expected la... HT owners going to wet their pants now...

what are these majority guys thinking? sign already can run aways?

Anonymous said...

Big boys need to teach small fries some lesson in fair trade.

All thats fair ends fair

sharon said...

thanks Dr Minority for updating in your website on horizon tower. I was wondering why suddenly there isn't any report on horizon tower. Read in the Daily zaobao today that one of the HT owner said she will not go for out of court settlement. Another HT owner who is in Australia said he will pump in more money for engage lawyers & they must stay together & fight as one. Actually, not necessarily the buyer will win. Best of luck, HT owners !!

Dr Minority said...

I am the last person to provide legal advice on this matter lol, but i think there's a political component to the HT case as well. Unless the judge is able to convince the public that the case is a unique and isolated one, if the court favours the developers, it opens the floodgate for any developer to sue any majority owners if the STB should dismiss their applications.

I'm sure things will be more complicated than that, so let's see how things turn out.

Anonymous said...

Dr minority, i agreed. Then, it will be like a situation big bully small. Chin up, HT owners. Stay as one and fight till the end. Don't be scatter before the fight. Then, you will confirm lose the battle.

Anonymous said...

""if the court favours the developers, it opens the floodgate for any developer to sue any majority owners if the STB should dismiss their applications. ""

and if the court favours the HT owners, it opens the floodgate for any enblocs sealed before march 2007 and not yet recieved STB approval for sale can just take out a few signatures and STB will declare the CSA null and void.

Dr Minority said...

>>and if the court favours the HT owners, it opens the floodgate for any enblocs sealed before march 2007 and not yet recieved STB approval for sale can just take out a few signatures and STB will declare the CSA null and void.<<

You might be interested to know that the Land Titles (Strata) (Amendment) Bill will probably include the amendment that empowers STB to disregard any technica/procedural irregularities (such as missing signatures) if it will not prejudice any owner's interest. How this will be rolled out is as yet undecided, but presumably it'll apply to all applications submitted after the Bill is gazetted. I don't know if it'll be retrospectively applicable though.

Anonymous said...

"You might be interested to know that the Land Titles (Strata) (Amendment) Bill will probably include the amendment that empowers STB to disregard any technica/procedural irregularities (such as missing signatures) if it will not prejudice any owner's interest. How this will be rolled out is as yet undecided, but presumably it'll apply to all applications submitted after the Bill is gazetted. I don't know if it'll be retrospectively applicable though. "

if the above is true, then we all know where the Govt's and the Judiciary's stand is on the HT issue, retrospective or not..

looks like the Govt sending a strong message not to do Singapore's redevelopment in

Dr Minority said...

I would reserve my judgment on this case still. Due process is built into the application to STB in that it allows minority owners to object to the sale. If the government is really determined to steamroll redevelopment, I suspect objections would be impossible. In fact, the amendments include an additional possibility to allow ALL owners, not just minority owners, to object. This would contradict the idea that the government and/or judiciary has a particular mindset regarding redevelopment and as such, will have an impact on the HT lawsuit.

Hundreds of applications have gone through STB in the past 2 years alone. The fact is that IF the minority owner(s) of HT never raised the suspicion that not everything is in order with regards to signature, the application would have been approved. I'm sure there are other applications where minor errors are made here and there, but if noone objects/raises issue with these documentation, and if STB does not go through everything with a fine comb, then the sale will sail right through (no pun intended).

Anonymous said...

i believe the reason to allow ALL owners to object is because they intend to ""empowers STB to disregard any technica/procedural irregularities (such as missing signatures) if it will not prejudice any owner's interest.""

in such a case, if a majority owner feels that his interest is prejudiced in the event irregularities are disregarded, then he would have an avenue to object.

i dont believe the Govt intention of allowing ALL owners to object is to give majority owners a chance to wiggle out of their commitment to the sale after signing the CSA.