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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Last-minute bid blocks SunREIT from Putra Place

Kuala Lumpur: An eleventh hour court ruling yesterday barred Sunway Real Estate Investment Trust Bhd (SunREIT) from taking possession of the Putra Place located opposite Putra World Trade Centre.

The Court of Appeal yesterday granted a stay of execution on an order made by the High Court on June 28 2011 which declared SunREIT as the true owner of Putra Place. SunREIT was to move into the premises and take possession and control within 72 hours or at noon yesterday.

OSK Trustees Bhd, acting on behalf of SunREIT, had on March 30 2011 bid and won the building that had been put up for auction.

The Putra Place, which houses The Mall, an office complex, and the Legend Hotel, was auctioned off by Commerce International Merchant Bankers Bhd to recover loans given to property owner Metroplex Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Metroplex is claiming that SunREIT is not the registered owner and wants to nullify the public auction.

Following the High Court decision in favour of SunREIT, the previous owner filed a notice of appeal.

SunREIT, as the registered owner, moved into the mall and set up a management office in a vacant lot.

But it could not move into the hotel until it obtained a licence to operate the hotel. Its hotel licence was effective from yesterday.

Yesterday morning, Metroplex went to the Court of Appeal to seek a stay of the execution order granted by the lower court pending its appeal to the Court of Appeal and a July 7th date was fixed for hearing. But shortly after, SunREIT solicitors were told the matter would be heard at 4pm.

Meanwhile, SunREIT was allowed to enforce the order with the assistance of the police in case Metroplex failed to hand over the control and management of the property. Some 30-odd police personnel were at Putra Place yesterday.

At around 11.40am, some 15 Sunway management team were briefed on what the next course of action would be, including the process of entering into the hotel premises.

At around 12.20pm, reporters were informed that Metroplex's request for a stay would be heard at 4pm. Pending the decision, the management decided not to take possession of the building.

A Sunway Hotel van carrying support staff for the hotel were told to turn back. They returned later in the evening and were identified as operations personnel. This group was briefed and was on standby should there be any hotel employees (under the Legend hotel management) walking out.

The hotel had to run smoothly to avoid disruption to guests staying at the hotel. SunREIT solicitors will try and expedite the hearing of the appeal at the Court of Appeal.

By Business Times

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