196 Jurong Country Club members will get payout

A day after the Government announced it would acquire the 67ha site, JTC wrote to all club members who hold debentures. The letter assured them that their rights as note-holders will not be affected by the acquisition.
A day after the Government announced it would acquire the 67ha site, JTC wrote to all club members who hold debentures. The letter assured them that their rights as note-holders will not be affected by the acquisition.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

JTC assures debenture-holders that it will redeem the notes in 2033

Most Jurong Country Club members are still wondering about payouts they might get from Singapore Land Authority's (SLA) acquisition of the club's site.

But some members have been given certainty they will get their money back - albeit well down the track.

The 196 members with a type of security or note known as a debenture were assured by JTC Corporation last week that it will honour its obligations to redeem the notes in 2033. The nominal amount of what JTC calls an "unsecured note" is $120,000.

Debentures are a type of security used to raise money in return for payouts. In this case, they were sold together with some memberships.

A JTC spokesman told The Straits Times it had written to all note-holders a day after the Government announced it would acquire the 67ha site to develop the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high-speed rail terminus.

The letter was to assure them that "their rights as note-holders will not be affected by the acquisition programme", she said.

Memberships with debentures generally cost a premium over the market rate.

One member who wanted to be known only as Mrs Sin said her husband had paid $69,000 for his membership in 1998 and would get a payout of $120,000 in 2033.

"We didn't know that our membership came with a debenture until a lawyer contacted us after we bought it. Now, people are telling me that I am lucky to own a membership with a debenture as it guarantees a payout," she said.

As the returns made the membership with a debenture a good investment, she and her husband decided last August to buy another membership with debenture for their son. They paid an old couple $64,000 for it.

Yesterday, JTC said the redeeming of its debentures would be independent of any compensation from SLA's acquisition of the site. SLA has said it would compensate the club "based on market value".

The club's general committee met SLA last Friday to discuss compensation and an alternative site for the club.

A timeline was given to the club, which has to vacate the site by November next year, ahead of its 2035 lease expiry date, said the club's spokesman.

Some issues were concluded by the general committee at the meeting, while other issues like the timeline and future of the club would be brought up for discussion with members at a dialogue next Tuesday, she added.

When asked if members will be informed of the compensation amount at that meeting, she said it was "too early to have a figure on compensation".

The club has about 2,700 members and 60 per cent of them hold golf memberships while the rest are social members, with access to all facilities except the golf course.

Only principal members have been invited to next week's meeting but the club expects a huge turnout.

Said the spokesman: "It's going to be our first time engaging with the members after the Government's announcement. We want to be transparent with our members about what we know.

"They have given us feedback that they have to rely on the media for information, and that has caused them a lot of anxiety."

joycel@sph.com.sg