Thursday, July 5, 2012

» Investors ordered to pay up for condo units

Straits Times: Wed, Jul 04

THE High Court yesterday rejected a bid by investors to have payments suspended on 10 apartments they bought in the high-end Grange Infinite condominium - the second defeat for such an application.

The court ruled that the investors must meet the outstanding repayment bill of $10.18 million by Saturday.

If the investors - a group of funds managed by ARA Asset Management - fail to pay, the sale and purchase agreements for the 10 units will be annulled, and developer Grange Properties can repossess the properties.

The case began last year when ARA took Grange Properties to court, claiming that the units were not as luxurious or elegant as had been promised.

The investors had bought 53 units for $388 million and since resold 16.

On April 9 this year, Grange issued a 21-day notice with respect to 10 of the units that ARA had bought.

The notice warned that if ARA did not make the necessary payments by the deadline, Grange would be entitled to exercise its right to resell the units.

The investors took out an injunction on April 24 asking for the remaining payments for the 10 units to be 'suspended, deferred and/or postponed until the disposal of the suit'.

They also claimed that they suffered losses of at least $46.1 million, which includes the cost of rectification works for certain defects in the building. Earlier this year, ARA lost a similar court battle to suspend payments on two of the units.

ARA argued in its application that Grange Properties might transfer the money from resold units, leaving it technically unable to pay any damages that might be awarded to ARA.

However, Grange Properties said that this argument was inconsistent with ARA's own pleaded case that it lost potential buyers and tenants because the units were poorly built and therefore difficult to sell.

Grange also argued that as an associated company of a financially sound listed firm, there was no evidence of a risk that it might transfer out money to deprive ARA of potential damages.

Following yesterday's High Court ruling, Grange Properties said it is 'considering its position in relation to the outstanding amounts for the other units purchased' by the investors.

Grange Properties is an associate of mainboard-listed Chip Eng Seng, which was represented by Senior Counsel Philip Jeyaretnam, managing partner of Rodyk & Davidson.

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C
Senior Sales Director
DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (SEA) Pte Ltd (L3006301G) | | | |

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