Wednesday, November 14, 2007

$500 million - the amount it eventually attracted - was realistically the best price Horizon Towers could have fetched in an en bloc sale - DTZ

$500 million - the amount it eventually attracted - was realistically the best price Horizon Towers could have fetched in an en bloc sale, DTZ Debenham Tie Leung director Tang Wei Leng told the Strata Titles Board (STB) yesterday.

She was one of several marketing agents invited in early 2006 to make a presentation on the en bloc sale potential of the development to its newly formed sales committee.

Ms Tang’s testimony to STB yesterday suggests the eventual price of $500 million obtained by the Horizon Towers sales committee was the highest it could have hoped for, given some of the development’s shortcomings.

Ms Tang said the Leonie Hill 99-year leasehold development was a challenge to market, compared with other sites in the area.

She described the site as unattractive because it had a limited view, was oddly shaped and impossible to sub-divide. She also said the two access roads leading to it were not an advantage.

She compared it to its neighbouring development The Grangeford, which she said had a regular shape, a full view of Orchard Road and a Grange Road address.

Her testimony comes in the face of some of the arguments put up by minority owners - those who did not agree to the en bloc sale.

It is the minorities’ case that the collective sale of Horizon Towers should not be allowed because the deal was done in bad faith - as the sales committee did not do its best to secure the highest possible price.

Still, the minorities’ case got support when former sales committee member Henry Lim returned to the stand later yesterday. He had first testified last Friday.

Yesterday, he said the sales committee received a higher offer than the $500 million from Hotel Properties (HPL) and its partners, which was eventually accepted by the bulk of the owners.

Mr Lim said Hong Kong developer Vinyard Holdings, through its Malaysian lawyers Chan & Shu, offered $510 million for Horizon Towers. He said he made attempts to contact them but was advised by lawyer David Ang of Drew & Napier not to pursue the offer as Chan & Shu was an ‘unknown name’.

Mr Limsaid last Friday that there were at least four offers comparable to or better than HPL’s $500 million bid. He said three out of nine of the sales committee members were happy with the HPL offer but rushed into the deal and had failed to consult the majority owners before accepting it.

The hearing continues today.

Source : Business Times - 13 Nov 2007

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