Top Global given options to buy units in Scotts Road building

$129.5m offer for retail office units was put up by Allied Tech director in a quick flip

Mainboard-listed property group Top Global confirmed yesterday that it has been granted options to purchase strata units within Thong Teck Building.

The Business Times (BT) had earlier reported that Kenneth Low Si Ren, executive director of Allied Technologies, is selling the parcel of office and retail space to Top Global for $129.5 million in a quick flip.

BT understands that Top Global is buying the properties from entities that Mr Low is believed to have taken control of early last month from RSP Architects Planners and Engineers founder Albert Hong.

On the same day that Mr Low took control of the units, a purchase option was granted to Top Global, which is helmed by Ms Sukmawati Widjaja.

The transaction involves about 28,360 sq ft office space on four levels of the nine-level building in Scotts Road priced at about $100.2 million, and some 6,440 sq ft of retail space on the ground level priced at about $29.35 million, BT reported.

Completed in the 1970s, the freehold building was refurbished a few years ago. The District 9 property is flanked by Scotts Walk and The American Club and is opposite Goodwood Park Hotel.

Top Global, in a filing yesterday, said it is "still evaluating the market conditions" in relation to the options, which are non-binding and were granted by the entities that own the properties.

The group had requested a trading halt, "pending release of an announcement", yesterday morning. At 12.38pm, it requested the trading halt to be lifted, after having filed the clarification on the options.

Mr Low is one of three directors of Allied Tech who were recently asked to recuse themselves from all decisions and recommendations of the firm's board. They are also not to act as signatories to the accounts of the Catalist-listed precision engineering group. The company's nominating committee made the decision, citing conflicts of interest.

According to a regulatory filing by Allied Tech at the weekend, Mr Low was involved in transactions relating to Asia Box Office - an event-ticketing solutions provider that Allied Tech acquired in April last year - and Platform Capital Asia (Singapore).

Mr Low owns 100 per cent of Platform Capital Asia (Singapore), which owns the transacted Thong Teck properties indirectly through various units.

Allied Tech recently made the headlines after $33 million it had placed in escrow with law firm JLC Advisors went missing. Its board has lodged a police report requesting an investigation into JLC Advisors and its managing partner Jeffrey Ong Su Aun for potential offences committed.

Mr Ong, 42, had allegedly made unauthorised payouts totalling $33,153,416 from the escrow account. The lawyer has been uncontactable for several days.

The Singapore Exchange, meanwhile, has directed Allied Tech, whose shares are suspended from trading, to expand the scope of its upcoming special audit to include developments surrounding the missing funds and the firm's attempt to recover the money.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2019, with the headline 'Top Global given options to buy units in Scotts Road building'. Print Edition | Subscribe