November 11, 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Deputy Head of Real Estate Practice Sandra Han featured in The Edge Property

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Deputy Head of Real Estate Practice Sandra Han was quoted in The Edge Property article titled “Collective sales sputtering back to life”. The article was first published in The Edge Property on 11 November 2016. Collective sales sputtering back to life Source: The Edge Property Date: 11 November 2016 Author: Cecilia Chow After a two-year drought with zero sales in 2014 and the lone en bloc deal of Thong Sia Building last year, the recent three deals topping $1 billion foreshadow an awakening of the collective sale market. “Based on a three-year snapshot, naturally $1 billion sounds like a lot,” says Karamjit Singh, JLL’s international director and head of residential. “But when compared with the preceding four years — from 2010 to 2013 — during which collective sales averaged $1.9 billion a year, it’s still low.” (See chart.) Singh attributes the recent collective sale deals to a confluence of factors: developers’ outlook having turned more positive as projects launched recently have sold reasonably well; inventory of unsold units has been reduced, spurring developers’ need to replenish their land bank; and reduced supply of development land available under the government land sales (GLS) programme since 2H2015, prompting developers to turn to collective sale sites as an alternative. JLL brokered the sale of Thong Sia Building for $380 million in July last year; it marked the largest collective sale of a mixed-use development to date. The project is located just off prime Orchard Road, opposite Paragon shopping centre. This year, JLL brokered two of the three collective sale deals: The 358-unit Shunfu Ville sold to mainland Chinese developer Qingjian Realty for $638 million in May, and the 175-unit Raintree Gardens at Potong Pasir sold to a joint venture (JV) between Singapore-listed developers UOL Group and sister company United Industrial Corp for $334.2 million in October. The third sale this year was Harbour View Gardens in Pasir Panjang, a freehold 14-unit apartment block purchased by Singapore-listed property group Roxy-Pacific Holdings for $33.25 million at end-August. These successful deals have spurred owners of other ageing private condominiums to revisit the collective sale route. “Many owners are asking if this is a good time to embark on a collective sale process,” says Singh. Owners sitting on a goldmine? Other property consultants have also been receiving similar calls. “These are mainly from hopeful owners wondering if the boom times have returned, and whether they are sitting on a goldmine,” says Jeremy Lake, CBRE executive director of investment properties. The enquires straddle all segments — privatised HUDC estates, older leasehold private condos, and some of the old private freehold projects that may have been unsuccessful in the past and are now looking to revive the collective sale process, Lake adds. Even lawyers have been besieged by phone calls. After representing the buyers in the collective sale of Shunfu Ville and Raintree Gardens, Lee Liat Yeang, senior partner of real estate practice group at Dentons Rodyk & Davidson, says he has received many enquiries from developers. Most of their concerns revolve around the issue of lease top-up and the likelihood of obtaining approval at the High Court or Strata Titles Board (STB) stage, Lee observes. Shunfu Ville, a privatised HUDC estate, has 69 years left on its lease. Therefore, part of the purchase price of $638 million includes a differential premium payable to the state to top up the lease for another 99 years and intensify the land use. Based on the site’s land area of 408,927 sq ft and gross plot ratio of 2.8, the new development can potentially yield over 1,100 units of an average size of 1,000 sq ft. JLL has estimated a breakeven price of $1,250 psf, with selling prices in the range of $1,400 to $1,500 psf. Qingjian had hoped to build towers of 30 to 36 storeys, but was told by URA to stick to the height limit of 21 to 23 storeys for the new project, according to news reports last month. This means the residential blocks will be lower and stouter. That could affect the premium it could otherwise command for high floor units with unblocked views, property observers say. Obstacles part of collective sale process Although 82% of the owners at Shunfu Ville had agreed to the collective sale, there were five who raised objections. After two mediation sessions failed, the STB issued a stop order to the collective sales committee, which has since applied to the High Court to seek approval for the sale. Shunfu Ville marks Qingjian Realty’s first en bloc purchase after eight years as a developer in Singapore. “We will await the final outcome of the [en bloc] purchase,” says Li Jun, managing director of Qingjian Realty (South Pacific) Group in response to email queries from The Edge Singapore. “We will definitely want to maximise the plot ratio, within the scope of the URA guidelines, when it is time to embark on the design. “Whatever the outcome, Qingjian Realty remains committed to building homes that are relevant to, and complement, the lifestyles of our homeowners,” says Li. At $638 million, each of the 358 owners at Shunfu Ville will walk away with an average of $1.782 million — which is almost 50% higher than the price an individual unit could command in the resale market, says JLL. And this is despite the fact that the sale price is below the reserve price of $688 million. For Raintree Gardens, the sale price of $334.2 million reflects a land cost of $797 psf per plot ratio on the potential gross floor area, inclusive of a differential premium payable to the state to top up the lease and for a redevelopment of the site to a gross plot ratio of 2.8. Raintree Gardens is also a privatised HUDC estate, with 70 years left on its existing lease. If the sale is successful, each apartment owner at Raintree Gardens will get an average of $1.9 million. The sale is subject to several conditions, including an order of sale by the STB or High Court. Minority owner objections throw spanner in the works “For bigger developments,
November 8, 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Partner Jack Ow was invited to speak at a panel discussion on “Cyber Security and Warfare” at GCS Credit Conference 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Partner Jack Ow was invited to speak at a panel discussion on “Cyber Security and Warfare” at GCS Credit Conference 2016. He shared his perspectives on the impact of cyber risks on businesses as well as the regional and worldwide trends in cyber security and data protection.
November 7, 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Managing Partner Tan Chong Huat shared his views on “Robots and gigs: the future of work” in this week’s Views from the Top

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Managing Partner Tan Chong Huat shared his views in this week’s topic in the Business Times’ weekly column, Views from the Top. This article was first published in The Business Times on 7 November 2016. Robots and gigs: the future of work NOV 7, 2016  5:50 AM THIS WEEK'S TOPIC: How will automation and the rise of the gig economy change the nature of work? Tan Chong Huat Managing Partner RHT Law Taylor Wessing  LLP MORE developed economies have leveraged the gig model longer than we can imagine. Technology, cost and attitudes are probably the biggest driver of the gig economy today. Technology has created sustainable revenue streams for freelancers. Uberisation of the economy will see more freelancers undertaking work traditionally done by employees. The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already changing the game. The gig economy reduces costs. The changing attitude of the younger workforce where flexibility is a priority is also changing the landscape. Employers are attracted to the gig economy as freelancers do not have employee benefits. This has changed for UK Uber drivers but this trend will continue especially with shrinking margins. Change is inevitable and the gig economy is likely to stay its course in this market.
November 1, 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing congratulates RHT Capital on attaining its Capital Market Services License as well as Catalist Full Sponsor status

RHT Capital launches into its new role from a position of strength with the attainment of the CMS license and Catalist Full Sponsor status. The team, clockwise from left: Leong Weng Tuck, Nicole Khoo, Zheng Yufeng, Nathaniel C.V., Darrell Su, Shervyn Essex, Mah How Soon, Khong Choun Mun. RHT Capital Pte. Ltd. (“RHT Capital” or “the Company”), an SGX-approved Continuing Sponsor to Catalist-listed companies, is pleased to announce that it has attained the Capital Market Services license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) which authorises the Company to act as Issue Manager for SGX Mainboard Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) as well as Financial Advisor / Independent Financial Advisor for corporate actions undertaken by public listed companies such as mergers and acquisitions (M&As) and capital-raising exercises. Additionally, RHT Capital has also been granted the Catalist Full Sponsor status by the Singapore Exchange (SGX), granting it the authority to act as Full Sponsor to Catalist IPOs and Reverse Takeovers (RTOs)/Very Substantial Acquisitions (VSAs). As a Catalist Full Sponsor, RHT Capital will be able to conduct introduction activities in connection with preparing a listing applicant for admission to the Catalist board or advise an issuer on reverse takeovers. This is in addition to its current duties as a Continuing Sponsor, which includes supervising and advising issuers on compliance with their continuing listing obligations and other legal requirements. Launching from a Position of Strength “For the past 5 years, RHT Capital has been a Continuing Sponsor for a significant number of SGX Catalist listed companies. We have established a firm foundation of knowledge and processes to assist Catalist issuers navigate a wide range of corporate scenarios and transactions. With the attainment of the CMS license and the Catalist Full Sponsor status, we are launching into this new role from a position of strength, as we offer potential issuers a ready set of capabilities in dealing with the challenges and complexities of being a public company,” said Mr Jayaprakash Jagateesan, Chief Executive Officer, RHT Holdings Pte Ltd (“RHT Holdings”). In lockstep with today’s achievements, RHT Capital welcomes on board two industry veterans in Singapore’s corporate finance scene, Mr Khong Choun Mun as Chief Executive Officer and Mr Mah How Soon as Managing Director, who will both head up RHT Capital. Khong Choun Mun has more than 25 years of corporate finance and equity capital markets experience in both the local and regional equity markets as well as advising businesses on M&A. He has been involved in the advisory and underwriting of more than 100 IPOs and numerous secondary fund raising exercises for companies listed on both the SGX and regional stock exchanges. Mah How Soon has more than 16 years of transactional and management experience in corporate finance in international and local financial institutions, and boutique advisory firms. He has played a key role in advising companies from many industries and countries on a wide range of transactions relating to both equity capital markets, and mergers and acquisitions. “Beyond providing full sponsorship and corporate finance services to listed issuers, RHT Capital is unique amongst other licensed corporate finance firms, as we are an integral member of RHT Holdings, a leading multidisciplinary professional services group with an increasingly regional outlook and ambition,”  Mr Khong Choun Mun, Chief Executive Officer of RHT Capital remarked. RHT Capital is a subsidiary of RHT Holdings, a Singapore-headquartered leading professional services group that delivers multidisciplinary business solutions to clients. RHT Holdings’ range of services straddles corporate advisory, compliance, governance & risk advisory, intellectual property advisory, management services, in addition to RHT Capital’s role as a Continuing Sponsor to Catalist-listed companies. RHT Capital was founded almost 5 years ago and today, the Company advises around 20 listed issuers in the manufacturing, technology, energy and retail sectors. With the new addition, RHT Capital comprises a team of Registered Professionals who have vast experience in the capital markets, including initial public offering and secondary equity and debt fund raising, mergers and acquisitions, corporate actions, regulatory compliance and corporate governance. The team is well equipped to provide advice and guidance to potential issuers on their listings on either the Mainboard or the Catalist, and SGX listed companies on corporate transactions, continuing listing obligations, compliance with the laws and regulations, and corporate governance.