Melissa Tan | The Straits Times | Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013

THE huge $590 million collective sale of Thomson View Condominium finally went to court for approval on Monday, after hitting a legal snag earlier this year.

The en bloc sale needs the High Court’s approval in order to proceed after some owners filed objections.

Market watchers said the outcome of the case would likely have a significant impact on the en bloc market, which only recently began showing signs of taking off.

The case is seen as important given the size of the sale, which could reach almost $1 billion after factoring in upgrading premiums and development costs.

The tender for the 540,314 sq ft Thomson View site was awarded to mainboard-listed Wee Hur Development and private equity investment firm Lucrum Capital at $712 per sq ft (psf) per plot ratio last September.

The five-day hearing before High Court Justice Andrew Ang began with collective sale committee (CSC) chairman Philomene Ngui taking the stand.

One issue before the court is that CSC’s marketing agent HSR paid some owners to consent to the sale.

HSR has been allowed to participate in the case and is represented by Rajah & Tann. In its submission, the firm said the compensation paid to those unit owners came out of its own fee. “HSR lost money, not the objectors, not any of the other owners, and not the CSC,” it added.

HSR’s head of investment sales Jeffrey Goh is likely to take the witness stand today.

Ms Ngui is one of the representatives appointed by the owners of 215 units in the project who consented to the en bloc sale. They are represented by Wong Tan & Molly Lim.

The objectors – represented by Drew & Napier, Daisy Yeo & Co and Kelvin Chia Partnership – are arguing that the sale should not be approved as it was not made “in good faith”.

One bone of contention is the claim that the sale price of $590 million was too low in light of a government announcement in August last year that an MRT station along the Thomson Line would be built nearby.

Wee Hur and Lucrum said earlier this month that they would give the consenting owners of Thomson View a deadline extension of six more months, until December, to obtain the sale approval. The original deadline was June 4 this year.

http://business.asiaone.com/news/property/thomson-view-en-bloc-sale-hearing-starts