Thursday, March 11, 2010

Clarifications by Suntec Singapore on the "co-ownership" of Suntec Convention Centre

On 9 March 2010, Lianhe Zaobao (Singpore’s leading Chinese press) reported that Suntec Singapore had released a one-page statement and a 3-page FAQ in response to City Harvest’s announcement that it will be paying $310m to “co-own” Suntec Convention Centre.

An extract of the Lianhe Zaobao news article, which appeared on page 4 of the paper, is reproduced below:

新达新加坡声明: 城市丰收教会入股 不影响新达新加坡运作

新达新加坡国际会议与展览中心说,通过ARA Harmony基金获得其部分股权的城市丰收教会,在基金的参与不大,也没有董事会席位。它的加入不会影响新达新加坡的正常运作,也不会引发任何人力削减或裁员行动。

  新达新加坡(Suntec Singapore)昨天发表上述声明,对城市丰收教会(City Harvest Church)决定入股的消息作出回应。


Extracts from the FAQs issued by Suntec Singapore are as follows:

1. Who owns the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre (Suntec Singapore)?

- Suntec Singapore is owned by the ARA Harmony Fund. Stakeholders of the Harmony Fund include Suntec Reit (20%) and other private investors including City Harvest Church.

2. Does City Harvest Church have a majority share in the Harmony Fund?

- While details of the stakeholders are confidential, it can be confirmed that City Harvest Church has a minority participation in the Harmony Fund.

3. Will City Harvest Church have a seat on the ARA Harmony Fund Board?

- Currently, CHC has no board seats in the ARA Harmony Fund.

4. Will the Church have any influence in the daily business of the Convention Centre?

- No. The operation of the Convention Centre has been contracted to Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Services Pte Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of ARA.

5. What leased spaces will City Harvest Church be using in the convention Centre?

- Suntec Singapore has issued a license agreement to the Church to provide 3 halls on the 6th floor, the Gallery space on the 3rd Floor and the theatre on the weekends. The license agreement will come into effect in March 2011.

6. Will the Church be renovating the licensed spaces for their use?

- Yes. An auditorium with the latest sound system will be constructed in the 6th floor halls. This auditorium will be available for Suntec Singapore to market for MICE business and other events during the week. The Gallery will be converted into smaller rooms for exclusive use by the Church. There are no changes planned for the theatre that will be used by the church on the weekends only.

(Source: )


lipkee said...

thywordistruth commented:

Let me first state my vested interest in this matter: I am a small-time investor in Suntec Reit. As an investor in Suntec Reit, I am elated that CHC see value in committing $310 Million to have a 80% share in a Fund that own SCC.

What is the implied value of ARA Harmony Fund ?100% =$387.50 Million

Did CHC get a good deal ?
"Suntec Singapore was acquired by the ARA Harmony Fund for S$235 million on 30 September 2009" =>100%

How much more did CHC value SCC ? wow.......$152.5 Million MORE . A 64% rise in the valuation of SCC within a space of 5 months ?The math don't make sense to me !

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am sad, amazed and puzzled that churches in Singapore are now keeping themselves busy "investing" tithes and offerings collected in the name of God to co-investing in Shopping Malls, Convention Centres and Concert Performance Venues to generate cash-flow for their ministry.


eekpil replied:


I understand what you are trying to do with your calculations. But I have to say you did not quite get the facts right.

Other than those who are privy to the deal, no one actually knows exactly how much shares CHC has bought into the ARA Harmony Fund. It is therefore inaccurate for you to say that CHC is "committing $310 million to have a 80% share" in the ARA Harmony Fund.

To be more accurate, CHC is paying $310m:

(a) to own a stake in a consortium company that owns 80% of ARA Harmony Fund (that owns Suntec Convention Centre);

(b) to renovate and furnish the 3 halls located on level 6 of the Suntec Convention Centre for the purpose of converting the halls into an auditorium suitable for worship services;

(c) to secure a license giving the church guaranteed use of certain leased spaces within the Suntec Convention Centre on weekends; and

(d) to make deposits and prepayments for the rental, management and maintenance of the venues.

In any case, whether CHC got a good deal or the raw end of the deal, it is hard for outsiders to make any judgment. If the leaders of CHC believe that having a venue in the city serves their congregation better and makes the work of the church more effective, who am I to disagree with them?

A church may give a billion dollars to provide medical assistance to people who are suffering from AIDS. Another church may invest the same amount to fund an business enterprise to create job opportunities for thousands of unemployed in a developing country. Another church may use the same sum to support the ministry of an evangelistic organization. And yet another church may utilize the money for renting or building a place for believers to worship, pray and reach out to the world.

How does one judge which of the churches is doing a better work or getting a better deal with the billion dollars? Honestly, if you were to ask me, I can only say I don't think I am in a position to judge at all.

Unknown said...

I'm curious to know your thoughts if i were to say that the church leadership has not disclosed details to its own members nor have they sought the approval of its own members to spend $310m of their members' money. They don't because I understand that the constitution doesn't require it. So much for governance isn't it?

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