25 Nov

The Merger Between The Ascott Limited and Somerset Holdings Limited Becomes Effective Today (Saturday Nov 25).

The merged group, The Ascott Group, is the Asia Pacific's largest serviced residence company.

With assets of $2.7 billion, it has a portfolio of 6,000 residence units in 16 cities in 10 countries, spanning from Auckland, New Zealand to London in the United Kingdom.

The Ascott Group's chairman, Mr Lim Chin Beng, said: "With the successful merger, our vision now spans beyond the Asia Pacific to Europe and the US. As market leaders in the Asia Pacific, we already have significant presence and brand equity in most of the countries we operate in. This is an excellent platform from which to compete for international leadership and establish global brands. "

Our two companies have a combined experience of over 30 years in the serviced residence business. Our Singapore and internationally-based staff have the creativity, technical expertise and knowledge to provide superior service to the discerning international clientele."

Ascott's managing director and chief executive officer, Mr Kee Teck Koon, said: "Our priority now is to realise the merger goals, and to deliver improved financial performance. We will work on transforming our leading brands into global brands and expand our network to North Asian, European and US cities."

Ascott Shares

The new Ascott shares which Somerset shareholders will receive pursuant to the merger will be traded on the SGX-ST from Monday, Nov 27.

Shareholders with odd lots of Ascott shares arising from the exchange of Somerset shares for Ascott shares, will receive an offer ("Offer") in a few weeks' time from Somerset Land Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Pidemco Land Limited.

The Offer gives shareholders the right to purchase the number of Ascott shares required to round up their odd lots of Ascott shares to board lots.

The price of the shares offered will be determined on the basis of the volume-weighted average of the prices of Ascott shares quoted on the SGX-ST over a number of days after the merger comes into effect.

Acceptance and payment for the Offer shares (tentatively targeted for end December 2000) may be made either through the CDP, at an Authorised Trading Centre or through an Automated Teller Machine.

The Offer shares, accepted and paid for, are expected to be credited to the Securities Accounts of Somerset shareholders by early January.

Further details of the Offer will be contained in letters of Offer which will be despatched to Somerset shareholders in due course.

The Offer is an off-market transaction arranged for shareholders who do not wish to incur brokerage fees in purchasing odd lots of Ascott shares to round up their odd lots into board lots.

Alternatively, if a shareholder wishes to trade his odd lots of Ascott shares on the SGX-ST, the company has made arrangements with four brokers who have agreed to participate in the trading of odd lots of Ascott shares, on a best efforts basis for 10 market days, from Monday Nov 27 to Friday Dec 8.

The brokers are Phillip Securities Pte Ltd, Vickers Ballas & Co Pte Ltd, Kim Eng Securities (Pte) Ltd and Kay Hian Pte Ltd.

The participation by these brokers should help improve the liquidity of odd lots of Ascott shares for shareholders who choose to buy or sell their odd lots through the SGX-ST. However, shareholders who trade through the SGX-ST would incur the usual brokerage fee.


Ida Lim, Vice President Investor Relations & Corporate Communications
Tel: 65867-230 Hp: 9-628-8339
Fax: 62272-220

Tay Cheng Cheng, Assistant Manager
Tel: 65867-231 Pgr: 9-266-0127
Fax: 62272-220


Issued by : The Ascott Limited and Somerset Holdings Limited