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Old March 25th, 2010, 05:47 PM   #121
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Government requests further information from developer of "39 Conduit Road"
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Government Press Release

With regard to the transactions of 24 units of "39 Conduit Road", a Government spokesman said today (March 25) that the Lands Department had received the reply to its inquiries from companies of the Henderson Land Development Co Ltd (the Companies) yesterday (March 24).

"The Companies replied that they had entered into a verbal agreement with the 24 purchasers to extend the completion of the sale and purchase for a period of between two to four months, therefore no assignment had been executed or delivered to the Land Registry for registration. Also, the Companies said that the completion of the sales might be further extended," the spokesman said.

"Given that the Companies had entered into new agreements with the purchasers verbally and could not be definite about whether the transactions could eventually be completed, the Lands Department issued another letter to the Companies today (March 25) requesting further information.

"We will continue to closely monitor whether the transactions will eventually be completed and whether there is any anomaly."
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Old March 27th, 2010, 09:03 PM   #122
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Henderson reply on luxury deals fails to satisfy
Lands Department wants more data on Conduit Road transactions

26 March 2010
South China Morning Post

The government is not satisfied with Henderson Land's explanation of why the sales of 24 flats in a luxury Mid-Levels development have not been completed five months after the developer said they were sold.

The Lands Department said it would require Henderson to provide more information about the transactions at 39 Conduit Road as the developer was not sure whether they would ever be completed.

The original request came amid calls by legislators for more transparency regarding flat sales to allay suspicions that developers were embellishing them to push up prices.

Henderson said in October the 24 flats had been sold for a total of HK$3.18 billion.

A five-bedroom duplex in the block was sold for a record HK$439 million, or HK$88,000 per square foot.

In a reply received by the department on Wednesday, the developer said it had entered into a verbal agreement with the 24 buyers to extend the transaction date for two to four months, adding that completion might be further extended.

"Given that the developer had entered into new agreements with the purchasers verbally and could not be definite about whether the transactions could eventually be completed, the Lands Department issued another letter to the developer {hellip} requesting further information," the department said.

Henderson must reply in seven days. The department said it would watch for any anomalies. But neither the department nor Henderson disclosed the further information sought by the government.

A person familiar with the administration's position said the department raised five questions with Henderson: the amounts so far paid by buyers and when they were paid; the dates of the verbal agreements for extending the date of completion; the details of such verbal agreements, including any changes to the purchase price and other changes to the sale and purchase agreements; the length of the extension of time for the 24 transactions; and the expected completion dates of the transactions.

"It sounds rather odd that Henderson Land did not forfeit the deposit paid by the purchasers for failing to complete the transactions as originally scheduled," an official said.

"Besides, the agreements for extending the completion dates were made verbally and the developer told us it may extend the completion dates again." The official said the government would continue to monitor the transactions closely.

A spokeswoman for Henderson said the delay in the transactions was understandable as the company should respect customers' needs. "Flexibility should be given to buyers whenever necessary," she said, adding more information would be given to the department next week.

The numbering of the block's floors also led to controversy after Henderson skipped 48 floor numbers so that it could market the top two floors as the 68th and 88th floors.
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Old April 8th, 2010, 05:41 PM   #123
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Henderson says 20 sales at Conduit Road will be completed by June
8 April 2010
South China Morning Post

Developer Henderson Land, under scrutiny over the delayed completion of sales of 24 luxury flats at a high-profile Mid-Levels development, has informed the government that it has written agreements with the buyers of 20 of the flats to complete the deals by June 16.

The buyers of the remaining four flats at the 39 Conduit Road project were out of town over the Easter holiday, but would soon sign written agreements to extend the deadline for completing the sales, Henderson said.

Earlier, the developer - responding to Lands Department questions about the failure to complete the deals in time - had said it had verbal agreements with buyers to delay completion of the deals.

"We just want to update the Lands Department about our progress, as it inquired earlier about the matter," a Henderson spokeswoman said.

She said there was no guarantee the deadline would be put off again, and urged any buyers who did not intend to go through with their purchase to inform Henderson as soon as possible.

Henderson announced 25 sales in October - including the block's top-floor duplex, which sold for HK$439 million, or a world-record HK$88,000 per square foot of saleable area. In March, the Land Registry said only one of the 25 sales Henderson had registered at 39 Conduit Road had been completed. The Lands Department has written seeking an explanation for the delay.

The block created a controversy because its top floor is numbered 88 even though it has only 46 storeys.
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Old April 11th, 2010, 09:39 AM   #124
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Developer quizzed again
9 April 2010
The Standard

Henderson Land (0012) has been asked to clarify yet again the 24 uncompleted transactions at 39 Conduit Road despite updating the government on Wednesday.

The Lands Department yesterday sent Henderson two letters, asking for clarification of the developer's two previous replies, dated March 31 and April 7, within seven days, a spokeswoman said.

Sales general manager Thomas Lam Tat-man said all buyers have confirmed in writing that the transactions will be finalized by the June 16 deadline.

While Lam is not clear about reports that senior company executives have been asked to meet the government, he is confident the deals will be completed by the deadline.

Only one out of 25 transactions reached late last year had been registered by early March, raising concern about the authenticity of the deals.

Meanwhile, Henderson said it reaped HK$160 million from 21 homes at Green Lodge in Yuen Long during the Easter holiday.

Prices ranged from HK$5 million to over HK$9 million, or between HK$4,100 and HK$5,700 per square foot, Lam said. Buyers offered to buy two houses in Green Lodge for up to HK$8,000 psf, but it was short of Henderson's target price of HK$9,000 to HK$10,000 psf, he said.

The developer is aiming to reap HK$500 million from all 60 homes in the project at an average of 5,000 psf for units measuring from 1,300 psf to 4,600 sq ft.

Cheung Kong Holdings (0001) will start selling eight three- bedroom homes with views of Needle Hill next week for an average HK$8,741 psf. The developer is asking for HK$7.88 million for each of the top-floor apartments measuring 902 sq ft.

Cheung Kong Real Estate director William Kwok Tsz-wai said prices of the units are on par with homes that look out on Lion Rock

``Prices [for the next units] may see a 5 to 10 percent adjustment,'' Kwok said.

``There are not many HK$7 million homes on the market, so they should be easily absorbed.''
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Old April 17th, 2010, 07:22 PM   #125
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New guidelines on floor numbering in buildings proposed
Friday, April 16, 2010
Government Press Release

Members of the Building Sub-Committee of the Land and Development Advisory Committee and the Authorised Persons, Registered Structural Engineers and Registered Geotechnical Engineers Committee were today (April 16) briefed on the guidelines on floor numbering for buildings proposed by the Buildings Department. A revised practice note, which provides details of a floor numbering system, was discussed at the meeting. Members were agreeable to the principles of the proposal.

In view of the recent public concern over the floor numbering in buildings, the Buildings Department has reviewed the existing Practice Note for Authorised Persons, Registered Structural Engineers and Registered Geotechnical Engineers with the relevant stakeholders with the aim of formulating a reasonable approach and a code of good practice for floor numbering for the industry to adopt on a self-discipline basis.

"Subsequent to a series of discussions among the relevant stakeholders, a consensus was reached on a floor numbering system. Under such a system, all floors of a building should be assigned with floor numbers in a logical and consecutive numerical series," the spokesman said.

The omission of floor numbers may affect the efficiency of the Government's provision of emergency services. Property owners, potential property buyers, visitors to buildings, utility service providers, etc., may also find it confusing and inconvenient if the floor numbers of a building do not follow a general sense of logic which can be easily understood.

However, it is recognised that the omission of floor numbers "4", "13" and those ending with a "4" has been adopted widely in buildings in Hong Kong.

"To strike a balance between the concern arising from the omission of floor numbers and the long established local practice and customs in floor numbering for buildings, it is proposed that the omission of floor numbers "4", "13" and those ending with a "4" may be accepted. Except for this type of acceptable omission, assigning floor numbers with other omissions will not be allowed," the spokesman said.

The spokesman also said, "Under the new guidelines, the use of non-numerical names (unless indicated together with the normal floor numbers, e.g. 20/F Sky Garden), alias names, alternative floor numbers (e.g. in the form of "also known as x/F"), illogical or non-consecutive numbers, etc., will not be accepted for assigning floor numbers as they may cause confusion to building users as well as emergency service personnel."

When submitting building plans to the Buildings Department for approval, the numbering of each floor must be clearly and unequivocally indicated on the plans. If the Buildings Department or other government departments consider that the floor numbers of the building as shown on the plans were not arranged in a logical sequence or the numbering arrangement may cause confusion, the Buildings Department will advise the applicant to make appropriate amendments to the plans.

The committee members generally agreed with the floor numbering system proposed in the revised practice note. They also supported the adoption of a logical floor numbering system together with clear and unequivocal indication of the floor numbers on building plans. The practice will also facilitate building owners to make reference to the approved plans for carrying out repair, maintenance, as well as alteration and addition works for the buildings.

The Buildings Department plans to apply the new guidelines on floor numbering to new development projects where an application for occupation permit was submitted on or after September 1, 2010.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 05:58 PM   #126
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Lawmaker complains to SFC over rise in shares
2 June 2010
South China Morning Post

Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Wing-tat has lodged a complaint with the Securities and Futures Commission accusing Henderson Land Development of using 24 uncompleted transactions at its luxury 39 Conduit Road development to boost its stock price.

Lee recorded the stock price of Henderson on dates it announced the flat prices at the project from August to October last year, and compared them with other property developers and the Hang Seng Index over the period.

He said Henderson rose a cumulative 23 per cent, while Sun Hung Kai Properties and Cheung Kong (Holdings) recorded 14 per cent and 9 per cent increases respectively. The Hang Seng index rose 10 per cent.

Henderson chairman Lee Shau-kee said yesterday: "We don't need to play tricks to sell the project."
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Old June 21st, 2010, 06:19 PM   #127
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Henderson Land To Book HK$734 Mln Loss In 1H From Home Sales Cancellations
15 June 2010

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--Blue-chip property developer Henderson Land Development Co. (0012.HK) said Tuesday it will book a loss of HK$734 million in the first-half ending June 30 from the cancellation of sales at its luxury residential project at Hong Kong's upscale Mid-Levels district.

Henderson Land, which is controlled by billionaire Lee Shau-kee, said sales of four units at 39 Conduit Road were completed, but transactions for 20 units were cancelled.

In October, Henderson Land said it had sold 25 units at 39 Conduit Road, which included the world's most expensive condominium unit, a 6,158-square-foot property that was sold for a record US$56.6 million.

That sale became a lightning rod for criticism, and detractors said the government wasn't doing enough to regulate the property market. It also attracted attention for an unusual floor-numbering system that labeled the tower's 46th floor a more auspicious 88.

In March, the Land Registry said only one of the 25 sales Henderson had registered at 39 Conduit Road had been completed. The Lands Department has asked the developer to submit a written explanation for the delay.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 04:24 PM   #128
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Henderson queried for seventh time
The Standard
Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Lands Department has written to Henderson Land (0012) for the seventh time as it dwells deeper into transactions at 39 Conduit Road.

In the latest letter, the developer was asked to provide more information about transaction details, in particular how it calculated the interest penalty for late payment.

"We received a letter today," a Henderson spokeswoman told The Standard. "We were also asked for copies of title deeds."

The deeds include buyers' identities.

The developer will submit relevant documents before the seven-day deadline, the spokeswoman said.

Only four of the first 24 transactions at the luxury project in Mid-Levels West were completed by the deadline in mid-June. The government's seventh letter came on the heels of an official statement last week that "relevant regulatory and law enforcement agencies are looking into and following up on the case."

Meanwhile, Henderson urged the government to clarify its regulations on completed homes.

After talks with the Real Estate Developers Association, the developer suggested that residential projects be exempt from the official sales rules six months after receiving an occupation permit, and a certificate of compliance if applicable, said sales general manager Thomas Lam Tat-man.

Lam said Henderson's Jade Suites in Jordan will hit the market in July or August. As the project has an old land lease, sales strategies will be devised based on the government's response.

Lam added Henderson will also launch Centre Point in Sheung Wan and a Sheung Shui project later.

The developer has reaped HK$450 million from 17 houses at The Beverly Hills, Phase 3, in Tai Po.

Five of the houses were on the price list out last week, going for an average HK$7,800 per square foot.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 11:38 PM   #129
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