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30 July 2013

Row may block Gilstead Court collective sale

Five owners who objected to sale are upset over amount they have to pay

Source: Straits Times | Money 
By Cheryl Ong

THE landmark collective sale of Gilstead Court could be blocked after objections from five owners unhappy they may have to pay up to $27,000 each, after failing to agree to the sale.

The $150.2 million sale of the Newton freehold condominium to developer Tuan Sing went through on June 17 - but the deal still needs the approval of the Strata Titles Board.

The five minority owners have filed objections with the board in the past month.

The other 43 owners have consented to the sale, meeting the 80 per cent requirement for such a sale.

If the board is unable to find a solution to approve the sale within 60 days from the first day of mediation efforts, the board is empowered to issue a "stop order" to block the sale.

The collective sale of Gilstead Court is set to be the first of its kind, as it was brokered entirely by the sales committee. Usually, a property firm does this job.

The five objecting minority owners have not signed the collective sale agreement (CSA). They say they object to clauses which would penalise them financially. Under the clauses, sellers who consented to the sale will have to contribute a sum of $2,000 towards a common fund set up for the purposes of the sale effort.

However, owners failing to consent by the closing date of the tender have to fork out twice the contribution amount, to be withheld from the net proceeds of the sale, and to be shared equally among all consenting sellers.

Minority owners are further angered that the CSA also stipulates that all other costs related to approval proceedings before the board will be withheld from their share of the net sale proceeds.

Under the Land Titles (Strata) Act, if the tender achieves the sellers' reserve price, an application to the board must be made for the approval of the collective sale.

An application for a sale approval was made to the board on July 4.

The Straits Times understands that each non-consenting owner could have to fork out a total of $27,000, taking into account all the extra charges outlined in the CSA clauses.

Leading the collective sale effort is Mr Warren Khoo, former Supreme Court judge, who is also the executive committee's secretary. Mr Khoo drafted the terms and conditions of the tender and collective sales agreement.

The Straits Times understands that the minority owners have made it known to the sale committee that they are willing to sign the CSA, on the condition that the relevant clauses are removed.

Mr Khoo declined to comment when contacted by The Straits Times, citing the ongoing proceedings.

Space-saving factories cut costs, boost efficiency

Source: Straits Times | Money By Rachael Boon

NEW "vertical" factories that reduce ground area by adding floors have opened in Tanjong Kling in Jurong.

Known as small footprint standard factories, they are designed by JTC to allow production to be housed on three storeys instead of sprawling over one floor.

Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck told an official opening ceremony yesterday: "This innovation reduces the land footprint of manufacturing small and medium enterprises (SMEs), increases land productivity and reduces capital investment."

There are 18 units at the Buroh Street complex, which has a total land area of 1.51ha. The gross floor area of each factory unit ranges from 700 sq m to 1,400 sq m.

The design includes ceilings from 6m to 7m in height and structural provisions such as removable concrete slabs that allow firms to install their own material handling system to move goods.

Eight of the units have been leased, including to Globaltronic Precision, Hoshin Kenzi, and FA System Automation (S). Some of the firms moved to the facility with the help of the Land Productivity Grant, which supports SMEs in improving their land use.

Globaltronic Precision, which makes mechanical products for oil rigs and the aerospace and medical industries, moved to its factory unit from Chia Peng Road two weeks ago.

Director Christopher Foo said: "My company used to occupy 15 units of about 1,000 sq ft each, which were all over the place, but now we are integrated in just one space."

The new factory is 15,000 sq ft, but there is 20 per cent more space due to the vertical design.

The company, which employs 65 people, has already seen cost savings and an increase in productivity and efficiency.

Mr Foo said: "At Chia Peng Road, we used to pay $18,000 per month for rent, but now we pay about $11,000 a month. And back then, we had to run all over to operate the machines but now one operator can run three machines."

Mr Teo said the Government is also looking at clustering companies together so that they can share services.

One example, which will be ready by the end of this year, is the surface engineering hub, designed with a centralised wastewater treatment plant linked to each factory unit.

MedTech 1 at Tukang Innovation Park, which will provide tenants with a shared sterilisation facility, is slated for completion next year.