SINGAPORE - The collective sale of Goodluck Garden for $610 million to Qingjian Group got the green light after the High Court granted a sale order on Monday (Nov 26) - but Justice Woo Bih Li also criticised marketing agent Knight Frank, the property's collective sale committee (CSC) and the CSC's lawyers Rajah & Tann on their handling of the sale.
Owners of the 210-unit freehold residential development in Toh Tuck Road went to court after seven minority owners objected to the sale.
On Monday morning in court, Justice Woo said that the valuation of the property by Colliers International, at $542 million, was not flawed, while a belated $637 million valuation by Asian Assets Allianz that dissenters submitted was.
He also disagreed with the dissenters' arguments that the fact that two members of the CSC had relatives owning property in Goodluck Garden amounted to an actual or potential conflict of interest. There was no suggestion that the apportionment of sale proceeds was unfair, he said.
Those points, as well as other factors, led him to find no bad faith in the collective sale process.
But he also said that the CSC should have extended the tender by at least one week for more time to inform bidders, and sought owners to decide whether to raise the reserve price following new information that the committee received from the authorities before the tender closed that there would be no development charge (DC) on the property.
Knight Frank previously gave homeowners several estimates for DC, the highest being $63.19 million, and launched the tender before obtaining verification from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
Justice Woo also said that the apportionment of sale proceeds and of the terms and conditions of the collective sale agreement (CSA) should have been approved at a general meeting of the management corporation, and through "overt means" like voting.
Rajah & Tann had advised the CSC that it was enough for those owners who had agreed with those terms to sign the CSA after the meeting.
About 50 people attended the hearing.
The objectors are represented by TSMP Law Corporation's Adrian Tan.
Qingjian declined comment when approached by Business Times.