Katong Park Towers gets Court’s nod for en bloc sale to proceed

THE sale of Katong Park Towers has been given the green light by the High Court, following some owners’ objection to the sale over factors like the method of apportionment.

An order of sale was made for Katong Park Towers following a High Court hearing on Tuesday, Edwin Lee of Eldan Law told The Business Times. He represented the collective sale committee.

A unit of Bukit Sembawang Estates bought the estate for S$345 million in March following a competitive tender, at about 20 per cent over the reserve price.

An application was made to the Strata Titles Board (STB) on April 16 for the sale, but some owners objected to it. Following failed rounds of mediation, STB issued a stop order in mid-July.

One objector believed the method of apportionment to be unfair, taking issue with the valuation of their shop unit at S$365,000.

The method of apportionment was based on 90 per cent valuation, five per cent strata area and five per cent share value; that objector argued that these three factors should have been given equal weight in determining the value of a unit.

The lawyers representing the collective sale committee argued that there would be a smaller variance in premiums across all residential units by adopting the weightage that was used; weighting the valuation, strata area and share value equally would favour the shop unit at the expense of the residential units.

Mr Lee said: “The court agreed that the 90-five-five method was similarly acceptable after considering the premium over valuation.” He noted, however, that in another case involving The Albracca in Meyer Road, the method of apportionment that considered valuation, strata area and share value equally was ruled to be the fairest.

“It seems that the court looks at the premium over the valuation and as long as the premiums across the board are quite fair to all parties, they would approve the sale,” he said.

Another objector, who owns a residential unit, was unhappy about having to pay a seller stamp duty of S$197,967. “The judge explained this is not something that can be taken into account,” Mr Lee said.

The High Court does not approve a collective sale if the transaction is not in good faith, taking into account the sale price, method of apportionment or relationship between the owners and the sellers. Other collective-sale disputes waiting to go to High Court include that of Brookvale Park and Cairnhill Mansions. Goodluck Garden’s case has been heard, but judgment has not been issued.