Norman, who has over 30 years of experience in corporate real estate work, has advised on a wide spectrum of property-related transactions, including investment sales and purchase (by way of share or asset sales), collective sales and project development transactions.
He regularly advises property developers, investment funds, statutory boards, property consultants, investors, financial institutions and purchasers in corporate real estate matters.
Norman has acted for owners and investors in commercial, retail, residential and resort developments both within and outside Singapore (including United Kingdom, China, Indonesia and Australia). His projects include the development and financing of major shopping and office projects and the acquisition of large commercial buildings in Singapore's Central Business District (“CBD”). He has acted for major developers in large residential projects, such as the CBD Marina Bay Residence. He has also acted in the acquisition, sale and leaseback of industrial developments (including multi-story strata buildings at the CBD fringe), involving the Housing Development Board and Jurong Town Corporation.
A leader in collective sale transactions, Norman was involved in one of the earliest collective sales, as well as one of the largest of such sales (Farrer Court with 618 units) in Singapore. To date, he has been instructed to act for owners of almost 200 developments and has successfully completed more than 120 of such transactions.
Norman was selected to make representations to the Select Committee, commissioned by the Singapore Parliament, on amendments to the Land Titles (Strata) Act in 1999 to facilitate collective sales. He was again consulted during a review of en bloc legislation and the ensuing amendments to the Act in 2007.
Norman has been identified as a leading real estate lawyer by independent legal directories like Chambers Asia Pacific, Asialaw and The Legal 500 Asia Pacific. In its latest 2017 edition, The Legal 500 – Asia Pacific describes Mr Ho as a lawyer who “decisively navigates through real estate issues”. In its 2016 edition, Chambers Asia Pacific recognises him as a “leading authority in the Singapore en bloc market. He gains praise from market sources for his creative problem-solving abilities.”
Norman’s experience includes acting for:
- Green 18 Pte. Ltd, a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Singapore and capitalised by 14 high-net-worth investors who are Singapore citizens or Singapore companies wholly-owned by Singapore citizens, in its investment in Summervale Properties Pte. Ltd. ("Summervale"), an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of City Developments Limited ("CDL") which is the registered proprietor of all 156 strata units in the high-end freehold residential development known as Nouvel 18, situated at 16 and 18 Anderson Road, valued at S$965.4 million. This transaction is also the third profit participation securities investment platform initiated by CDL, which saw the raising of a total of S$977.6 million through equity injection, issuance of notes and provision of credit facilities by two local banks. Summervale successfully obtained a clearance certificate from the controller of residential property on the date of completion.
- SRIF Pte. Ltd’s trust Singapore Residential Income Fund in its acquisition of the entire issued and paid-up share capital of Ximeng Land (S) Pte. Ltd. ("Ximeng"), the housing developer of the residential project at Pearl Island, Sentosa Cove. The transaction required the approval of Sentosa Development Corporation, and Ximeng also successfully obtained a clearance certificate from the controller of residential property following completion, and ceased to be liable to pay any charges to Sentosa Development Corporation for the extension of time to sell all the houses in the development.
- TG Development Pte Ltd and Tee Development Pte Ltd in the swap of an aggregate of 80 units in two separate developments (20 unsold units out of 52 in one, all 60 unsold units in the other) jointly developed by the two companies with the units estimated to be valued at S$165 million and acted for Tee Development Pte Ltd in the related financing of about S$27.6 million. The matter involved making multiple representations to Land Dealings (Approval) Unit on issues pertaining to qualifying certificate and for obtaining consents to the change of ownership, as well as to Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore on stamp duty considerations.
- Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investment GmbH, on behalf of its fund Morgan Stanley EuroAsia, in the sale of the entire issued and paid-up share capital in KAG 1 Holding SG Pte. Ltd. ("KAG") to Radiant Charm Limited, which is affiliated to the Tang group of companies. KAG is the registered proprietor of 23 strata units comprised in the condominium development known as Draycott 8 located at 8 Draycott Park, a prestigious high-end residence located near the popular shopping and entertainment belt of Orchard Road, worth S$149 million.
- SC Aetas Holdings Pte. Ltd, a subsidiary of SIN Capital Group, in its en bloc acquisition of all 45 commercial and residential strata units in the development known as Thong Sia Building at a total consideration of S$380 million.
- RB Capital Pte. Ltd in its restructuring of the existing conventional corporate loans from Malayan Banking Berhad and successfully restructured/converted into Shariah compliant financing facilities for the purposes of financing the customer's working capital in the management of a business hotel in Clarke Quay, Singapore. This deal is said to be “... the first to be done in a secular country, and also one of the biggest Islamic deals in Singapore” (because) “… hospitality-related assets are not typical in Islamic financing”.
- Tang Skyline Pte. Ltd in its acquisition by tender of a 99 years leasehold residential land parcel with commercial uses at 1st storey at Alexandra View for S$376.88 million. Tang Skyline is a company jointly owned by both Tang City Holdings Pte Ltd and Gigantic Global Limited (collectively, "Companies") and both Companies are in turn wholly-owned subsidiaries of public companies listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The development is for residential and commercial use with around 400 to 450 private residential units and the commercial component will include a supermarket and an infant care/child care centre. Also acted for Tang Skyline in the credit facilities of almost S$400 million from a syndicate of lenders for the purposes of, inter alia, financing the acquisition, payment of the development charge and construction of the mixed-use development.
- CIMB Bank Berhad (“Bank”) and TG Group of Companies (“Company”) in the refinancing of two stacks of residential properties owned by the Company via commodity murabaha term financing facilities allowed under the Shariah laws. The aggregate facility value is in excess of S$105 million was granted by the Bank via commodity murabaha term financing facilities allowed under the Shariah laws. Also assisted in the preparation of template security documents for the Bank in respect of their corporate Islamic financing secured by real estate properties.
- Pamfleet on behalf of Tuckman Limited, a British Virgin Island-incorporated investment vehicle ("Tuckman"), in its acquisition of the entire interest in JSCL Investments Pte. Ltd. ("JSCL") worth S$127.1 million from Reef Lodge Pte Ltd and Ang Ming Chiang. The registered proprietor of JSCL is the proprietor of Homestay Lodge (the "Property"), a workers' dormitory development comprising 10 blocks of about 6,000 beds, worth S$127.1 million. The Property is held by JSCL under a leasehold estate from the Housing and Development Board ("HDB"). The acquisition was subjected to the approval of HDB. Also acted for JSCL in the secured term loan facilities of up to S$76.26 million granted to JSCL to refinance its existing loans and for the purpose of on-tending to Tuckman to partially finance the acquisition.
- Blackstone Singapore Pte Ltd, on behalf of Amber Investment Holding (Cayman) Limited, in its acquisition from Arch Capital Asian Partners, LP (acting through its general partner, Arch Capital Asian Partners, GP), of the entire issued and paid-up share capital of Highest Reach Investments Limited, which holds 34 strata units comprised in the residential development located at 21 Anderson Road, a high-end residence located near Orchard Road shopping belt, worth approximately S$164 million, through its indirectly wholly-owned subsidiaries, Anderson International Properties Pte Ltd and Raffles Legend Properties Pte Ltd (together, “Borrowers”). Also acted for the Borrowers in the credit facilities of up to S$103 million granted to the Borrowers from a local bank to refinance its existing loans and also assisted with the whitewash procedure required in relation to the refinancing.
- Pristine Islands Investment (Maldives) Private Limited (“PI”) in its partnership negotiations with ACCOR, the world's leading hotel operator and market leader in Europe. With assistance from the Maldives counsel, advised PI, among other matters, in the review and negotiations of the Hotel Consultancy Services Agreement (HCSA) and the Hotel Management Agreement (HMA) for the two international beach resorts under the ACCOR brand standards of "Pullman" and "Mercure".
- HL Bank in its acquisition from National Australia Bank Limited, a portfolio of property and term loans granted to medical practitioners and medical and dental clinics in Singapore ("Portfolio"). The Portfolio was transferred pursuant to Section 55C of the Banking Act and required the approval by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the High Court.
- SEB Asset Management, part of the Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken Group, in its acquisition from CBRE Global Investors Asia Holdings BV of its entire interest in Yongjin Holdings Pte Ltd, the registered proprietor of Anson House, a 13-storey office and commercial building in Singapore's Central Business District, worth S$172 million. Also acted for the purchaser in the credit facilities of up to S$88.75 million taken by Yongjin Holdings Pte Ltd from a Singapore branch of a foreign bank to refinance its existing loans and also assisted with the whitewash procedure required in relation to the refinancing.
- RB Capital Group in its acquisition of Gallery Hotel at 1 Nanson Road Singapore for S$232.5 million, which translates to over S$1 million per room.
- Exklusiv Resorts Pte Ltd (“Vendor)” in its sale to Oxley Gem Pte Ltd (“Purchaser”), the subsidiary of listed company Oxley Holdings, of the leasehold estate for a term of 103 years in the property known as 30 Stevens Road, Singapore (“Property”) - the location of the Pines club - for a consideration of S$318 million. Funds for the purchase comprised both bank borrowings as well as S$100 million 6% bonds due 2015 issued by the Purchaser to the Vendor and guaranteed by Oxley Holdings; also advised the Vendor on issues relating to the contractual rights of club members, the relevant notices to be issued to members and the suspension of the club membership in view of the sale and redevelopment of the property and closure of the Pines club.
- LVND Investments Pte Ltd (formerly known as LVND Development Pte Ltd) in its purchase of Hotel Windsor located at 401 Macpherson Road from Ho Bee Developments Pte Ltd (“Ho Bee”), a subsidiary of Ho Bee Investment Ltd, for a consideration of S$163 million. This deal also involved the leaseback of the hotel component to Ho Bee, the entry into a management agreement with Ho Bee for the provision of management services for the commercial retail space of the property, and financing from United Overseas Bank Limited. We were involved in the drafting, negotiations, amendments and finalisation of these agreements as well. Subsequently, we were also involved in acting on the Hotel Consultancy Services Agreement and Hotel Management Agreement with AAPC Singapore Pte Ltd. (AAPC), a subsidiary of ACCOR Asia SA, to, among other things, provide hotel consultancy and management services for the new hotel development knows as Ibis Styles Singapore on MacPherson.
- Lion City Hotel Properties Pte Ltd in its sale of the Lion City Hotel and the adjoining former Hollywood Theatre site for S$313 million. The unit land price for the Tanjong Katong-Geylang Road area properties, with a total freehold land area of 147,909 square feet, works out to S$779 per square feet of potential gross floor area. Based on the current allowable development options, the property may be redeveloped into a commercial and/or residential complex.
- Morgan Stanley in its divestment of the whole of its indirect interest in an investment holding company which held four dormitories in Jalan Papan, Woodlands, Kian Teck and Tampines in Singapore. The transaction price for the divestment, which included the sale also of the remaining minority interests, was about S$380 million.
- Owners of Farrer Court in its sale of the 618-unit development to Morganite Pte Ltd, a consortium comprising CapitaLand, Hotel Properties and Wachovia Development Corporation for S$1.3388 billion. This remains Singapore’s largest collective sale transaction to date.
- SEB Asset Management (German pension fund manager) in its acquisition of SIA Building at 77 Robinson Road for S$526 million.
Memberships / Directorships
- Honorary Legal Advisor, Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (2001 - present)
- Notary Public and Commissioner for Oaths (1996 – 2008)
- Legal Advisor and Member, Bone Marrow Donor Program (Registered Charity) (1993 – present)
- President, Bone Marrow Donor Programme (Registered Charity) (2014 – present)
- Consultant, Singapore Academy of Law (Stakeholding Rules) (1996 - present)
- Co-author, "Halsbury's Laws and Precedents - Land" , Vol 14, Butterworths Asia, 2001
- Contributed a chapter for "The Practice of Law", LexisNexis, 2011