16 Oct
2000

Ascott and Somerset Announce Board of Directors and Senior Management Designates for Proposed Merged Company

Somerset Holdings and The Ascott Limited have announced the board of directors and senior management designates for their proposed merged company.

Ascott is holding an EGM on Oct 23 and Somerset on Oct 25 to obtain approvals from their shareholders for the proposed merger. If their shareholders give the green light, the 11 directors for the merged entity will be drawn from the current boards of Somerset and Ascott.

The chairman designate of the merged entity will be Mr Lim Chin Beng, who is currently the chairman of Somerset. Mr Lim is also a director of Pidemco Land and a director designate of CapitaLand. Mr Lim was previously deputy chairman, and prior to this, managing director of Singapore Airlines.

The deputy chairman designate is Mr Liew Mun Leong who is currently Somerset's deputy chairman, as well as president and chief executive officer designate of CapitaLand. Mr Hiew Yoon Khong, CapitaLand's designate chief financial officer, will be the alternate director to Mr Liew.

The managing director and chief executive officer designate is Mr Kee Teck Koon, who is currently the MD and CEO of Somerset Holdings.

Other designate members of the board who are currently directors of Somerset include Mr Richard Hale, Mr Graham Davey, Mr Goh Hup Jin, and Dr Wee Kim Wee.

The proposed merged company's designate directors who are currently on Ascott's board are Mr Chandra Das, Mr Lim Jit Poh, Mr Ang Ah Lay and Mr Nagaaki Esaki.

Proposed Senior Management Team

The new management team of the proposed merged entity will be similarly drawn from the current pool of senior executives at Ascott and Somerset. Besides CEO and MD designate Mr Kee Teck Koon, other designate members are Mr Eu Mun Leong as chief financial officer; Mr Cameron Ong, chief operating officer; Mr Dennis Foo, chief corporate officer; and Mr Benett Theseira, chief investment officer.

Mr Eu is currently Somerset's chief financial officer and Mr Ong, its chief operating officer. Mr Foo is now Ascott's senior vice president for corporate services and company secretary, while Mr Theseira is its senior vice president for business and brand development.

Somerset CEO Mr Kee said: "Among our designate board members, there is a wealth of international business expertise. Their knowledge, network and guidance will be major assets to the company as we go forward in our strategy to establish ourselves as a dominant player in the global serviced residence industry. We want to be another Singapore business icon in the international arena, and towards this end, we are indeed very fortunate to have their services."

"The new senior management team brings together the senior executives of the two companies who have played pivotal roles in carving for each of their companies substantial market shares in the region's fast growing serviced residence sector. Collectively we have 55 years' extensive experience in the Asia Pacific hospitality and property markets."

Rationale for Merger

Ascott and Somerset are proposing the merger to create the largest serviced residence owner / manager in the Asia Pacific with over 6,600 serviced residence units in 16 cities in 10 countries.

Mr Kee said that the merger is a unique opportunity for Ascott and Somerset to consolidate size, brand presence and resources to achieve market dominance in the cities both companies operate in.

The increased size will provide the merged company with a larger platform to expand internationally and drive for dominance in the global serviced residence industry. The larger asset base will facilitate the critical mass and international presence to establish global brands.

With the merger, synergies, economies of scale and greater operational efficiencies can be realised.

The increased market capitalisation of the combined company should improve its shares' liquidity and float, resulting in greater international investor interest. The larger capital base will also improve access to debt and capital markets and provide greater potential for obtaining funds at lower costs.

Strategies

Mr Kee said that the merged company will focus on leveraging the combined scale, competencies and distribution network of Ascott and Somerset to build a global serviced residence company.

It will build on its critical mass in Southeast Asia to expand into North Asia and Europe. It will grow through investments, third party management contracts and strategic partnerships. The merged group will also leverage on the established brands within its portfolio to build international brands.

To fund growth in its core serviced residence business, it will divest its non-serviced residence assets which comprise largely retail properties, residential developments, commercial and leisure investments.

It will also harness e-technology to differentiate and enhance its serviced residence products and services.

 


Issued by: The Ascott Limited 391B Orchard Road #11-00 Ngee Ann City Singapore 238874 Somerset Holdings Limited 8 Shenton Way #13-01 Temasek Tower Singapore 068811

Date: October 16, 2000

For more information, please call:
 
 
  The Ascott Limited Adeline Wong, Asst Manager Corporate Communications 7396-141 or (Hp) 9-8440-418 Email: adeline.wong@the-ascott.com Somerset Holdings Limited Ida Lim, Vice President IR & Corporate Communications 5867-230 or (Hp) 9-6288-339 Tay Cheng Cheng, Asst Manager 5867-231 or (pgr) 9-2660-127


Background

Proposed Merger of The Ascott Limited and Somerset Holdings Proposed Board of Directors for the Merged Company

Mr Lim Chin Beng, Chairman designate
Mr Lim is currently chairman of Somerset Holdings. He is also a director of Pidemco Land and a director designate of CapitaLand.

Mr Lim was the managing director of Singapore Airlines from 1972 to 1982, became the deputy chairman of Singapore Airlines from 1982 to 1996, and ambassador to Japan from 1991 to 1997.
He has held various distinguished appointments such as the chairman of the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board, and is currently a member of the Public Service Commission. An Economics graduate from the University of Malaya, Mr Lim was named Businessman of the Year in 1986.

Mr Liew Mun Leong, Deputy Chairman designate
Mr Liew is currently Somerset's deputy chairman and chairman of its executive committee. He is also currently the president of Pidemco Land and President and CEO Designate of CapitaLand.

Mr Liew has more than 22 years' international experience in construction and real estate in Singapore and overseas. He led a number of public sector infrastructural development projects in Singapore and was head of projects responsible for the successful development and construction of Changi International Airport.

For five years, he was chief executive of Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research (SISIR), a statutory board responsible for Singapore's national standards and industrial research, and development to support the manufacturing industry. He also headed a major construction company in Singapore which had operations in 13 countries in the Asia Pacific.

Mr Liew was the president of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) for the term 1997 to 1998. Currently he is also the Chairman of the Board of Governors of Temasek Polytechnic.

He graduated from the University of Singapore with a civil engineering degree in 1970.

Mr Kee Teck Koon, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer designate
Mr Kee is currently managing director and chief executive officer of Somerset Holdings.

Prior to this, he was the senior vice president of the Singapore Investment Division in Pidemco and was responsible for property investment strategy, portfolio allocation, business and investment evaluations.

Before joining Pidemco in 1996, Mr Kee was the group corporate director of L&M Group Investments. In addition to regional business development and corporate services, he was responsible for the company's operations and performance in the Philippines, Thailand and Taiwan.

Mr Kee holds a MA in Engineering Science from Oxford University, UK.

Mr Richard Hale, Director designate
Mr Hale is currently a director and Audit Committee chairman of Somerset Holdings.

He was executive chairman of SNP Corporation from 1999 to 2000. From 1995 to 1997, he acted as advisor on environmental matters to HSBC Holdings plc London based in Singapore.

Mr Hale joined the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd in 1958 and served in London, Paris, Hongkong, Germany, Malaysia, Japan and Singapore before retiring from the bank as chief executive officer in Singapore and director in 1995.

Mr Hale has been awarded the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth; the Public Service Star by the Singapore Government; the Singapore Environmental "Green Leaf" award; and numerous international philatelic awards.

His other current appointments include Board member of the Singapore Environment Council, and Governor of the United World College of Southeast Asia

Mr Graham Davey, Director designate
Mr Davey is currently a director of Somerset. He is also the chief operating officer of DHL Worldwide Network NV/SA based in Belgium, covering Europe and Africa.

From 1966 to 1983, he held senior management positions in industries which include packaging, printing and logistics management. He joined DHL in 1983 as regional sales and marketing director for Southeast Asia, rising to chief operating officer in November 1997 with responsibility for the Asia Pacific / Middle East region.

Mr Davey holds an honours degree, majoring in Economics and Geography, from the University of Cambridge, UK.

Mr Goh Hup Jin, Director designate
Mr Goh is currently a board director of Somerset. He is also the chairman of Nipsea Holdings International (Nippon Paint Group), and director and vice president of Wuthelam Holdings.

Prior to joining Wuthelam Holdings in 1992, he was president of Sanwa Foods Inc (USA) from 1981 to 1991.

A Colombo Plan / Mombusho scholar, he holds an MBA from the University of California and Bachelor of Engineering from Tokyo University.

Dr Wee Kim Wee, Director designate
Dr Wee is currently a director of Somerset.

A former diplomat and ambassador, and Singapore's fourth President for eight years, Dr Wee is also director of the Goh Foundation and Tsao Foundation.

A former journalist, Dr Wee was the deputy editor of the Straits Times from 1959 to 1973. He served as Singapore's High Commissioner to Malaysia, ambassador to Japan and ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 1973 to 1981. On his return to Singapore, he was appointed chairman of the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation in 1984. He was elected fourth President of the Republic of Singapore by Parliament in 1985 and re-elected to a second term in 1989.

Dr Wee's many awards include the Order of Temasek (First Class), the Meritorious Service Medal, Justice of Peace and Public Service Star by the Singapore Government; as well as being the first non-medical person to be conferred honorary membership of the Singapore Medical Association.

He was also awarded the Most Esteemed Family Order Laila Utama of DK (First Class) by the Sultan of Brunei; and Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (GCB) by the Queen of the United Kingdom.

Mr Ang Ah Lay, Director designate
Mr Ang is currently a director and member of the executive committee of Ascott. He is the managing director / partner of Schroder Property Asia (S) Ltd.

Prior to this, Mr Ang was managing director of MCL Land Limited, a public-listed company in Singapore, and general manager of Suntec Investment Pte Ltd.

Mr S Chandra Das, Director designate
Mr Das is currently an Ascott board member and chairman of its Audit Committee. He is also chairman of the NTUC Fairprice Co-operative.

A retired politician, Mr Das was a Member of Parliament between 1980 and 1996. He holds various directorships and appointments in both the public and private sectors, in Singapore and overseas. He was also a director of SGS Singapore from 1987 to 1997, and a member of the Port of Singapore Authority from 1976 to 1995.

Mr Nagaaki Esaki, Director designate
Mr Esaki is a director and a member of the executive committee of Ascott. He is currently the managing director of ORIX Investment and Management Private Limited.

Mr Esaki also holds directorships in ORIX Leasing Singapore, ORIX Car Rental, and various subsidiaries of the ORIX Group in Singapore.

Mr Lim Jit Poh, Director designate
Mr Lim is a director and chairman of the Compensation Committee of Ascott. He is currently the executive director of Lum Chang Holdings and deputy managing director of L.C. Development Ltd.

Concurrently, Mr Lim is the chairman of Comfort Group Ltd, VICOM Ltd, and i-One.Net International Ltd. In addition, he is a director of International Factors (Singapore) Ltd, a public listed company with business in factoring and leasing; DelGro Corporation Limited, a public listed company in transport, engineering and property; and Inchem Holdings International.

Mr Lim is also a member of the Council of the National University of Singapore.

Mr Hiew Yoon Khong, alternate board director designate
Mr Hiew is currently an alternate director on the Somerset Board. He is also the chief financial officer of Pidemco Land responsible for the financial management of the Pidemco Group including its treasury activities, corporate finance and tax planning.

Prior to his appointment at Pidemco, Mr Hiew was the corporate affairs director of a public-listed electronics company. In this capacity, he undertook various merger and acquisition activities and was responsible for the equity and debt raising of the group. Mr Hiew's experience also includes extensive project financing activities in Southeast Asia while he was with a London merchant banking group J Henry Schroder Wagg Ltd.

Mr Hiew holds a BA in Economics from the University of Portsmouth and a MA in Economics from the University of Warwick, UK.

Background

Proposed Merger of Ascott and Somerset Senior Management Executive Designates for Merged Company

Mr Kee Teck Koon, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer designate
Mr Kee is currently managing director and chief executive officer of Somerset Holdings.

Prior to this, he was the senior vice president of the Singapore Investment Division in Pidemco and was responsible for property investment strategy, portfolio allocation, business and investment evaluations.

Before joining Pidemco in 1996, Mr Kee was the group corporate director of L&M Group Investments. In addition to regional business development and corporate services, he was responsible for the company's operations and performance in the Philippines, Thailand and Taiwan.

Mr Kee holds a MA in Engineering Science from Oxford University, UK.

Mr Cameron Ong, Chief Operating Officer designate
Mr Ong will oversee the Operations Division of the merged company. Besides operational performance of all Somerset properties, he will also be responsible for the company's product development & technical management, procurement, marketing & brand development functions.

Mr Ong is currently Somerset's chief operating officer. Prior to this, he was president and director of Liang Court Hospitality.

Mr Ong has more than 20 years' international experience in the hospitality industry. He has served in senior management positions at several international hotel chains such as the Hyatt, Sheraton and Bass Hotels which manage the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotel chains. He has also managed hotels in China and Singapore, and was a lecturer at the Holiday Inn University for several years.

He has clinched many awards including the "Best Expat" award and a special award for "Outstanding Contribution to Tourism in Beijing". Both awards were given by the Mayor of Beijing Municipal Government. Mr Ong was also the youngest Asian hotel GM in the Crowne Plaza hotel chain.

Mr Ong is a Certified Hotel Administrator (Educational Insititute of American Hotel and Motel Association).

Mr Eu Mun Leong, Chief Financial Officer designate
Mr Eu will be responsible for the accounting, projects & risk management, and treasury functions of the merged company.

He is currently Somerset's chief financial officer. Prior to this appointment, he was a vice president at United Overseas Bank, overseeing corporate banking and corporate finance, from 1990 to 1997.

From 1981 to 1990, Mr Eu worked with Chase Manhattan Bank and Chase Investment Bank Singapore, rising to become the second vice president of the bank, overseeing the real estate banking, wholesale banking and investment banking portfolios.
Mr Eu holds an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, US and B.Acc (hons) from the University of Singapore.

Mr Benett Theseira, Chief Investment Officer designate
Mr Theseira will oversee the business development & asset management, property funds, and strategic planning & group asset management functions of the merged company.

He is currently Ascott's senior vice president for business and brand development.

Prior to this, he was director of business development and acting general manager of Stamford Residences, a subsidiary of DBS Land. He joined DBS Land in 1995 and was primarily involved in developing its serviced residence business. Mr Theseira joined Land Office in 1990 and his last position was as Assistant Commissioner of Lands.

Mr Theseira obtained his Bachelor of Surveying with Honours from the University of Tasmania, Australia under a Colombo Plan scholarship.

Mr Dennis Foo, Chief Corporate Officer and Company Secretary designate
Mr Foo will be responsible for the legal & company secretarial, investor relations & corporate communications, human resource & administration, and information technology functions of the merged company.

He is currently Ascott's senior vice president for corporate services and its company secretary.

Mr Foo has over 25 years' experience in public accounting, financial management, internal audit and company secretarial in MNCs and local public companies.

He is a chartered accountant articled with Price Waterhouse in Melbourne and a chartered secretary by training. He obtained his MBA from the University of Strathclyde.