29 Mar

Ascott Secures Management Contract For New Apartment Project At Bencoolen Street

The Ascott Group has secured a 10-year contract to manage a proposed 94-unit apartment project at Bencoolen Street in Singapore.

To be developed by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), the 12-storey development will also include a four-storey commercial annexe.

The complex is located in the precinct earmarked by Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for development into an international entertainment hub, similar to Broadway and Times Square in New York. It is also close to the proposed Singapore Management University campus and Civic District around Bras Basah Road.

The Ascott Group, Asia Pacific's largest serviced residence company, will operate and market the apartment tower as serviced residences under its Somerset brand. It will also provide pre-opening technical services. Construction of the complex will begin in the next quarter and complete by end 2003.

The group's chief executive officer, Mr Kee Teck Koon, said: "The management contract is in line with our strategy to grow our collection of managed or leased properties to one-third of our portfolio, and increase our fee-based income to a quarter of our revenue.

"With the Bencoolen project, we will have more than 750 residence units for our customers to choose from, accounting for about 25 per cent of the market share in Singapore.

"For our third party building owner, we provide a better return than other operators. We drive a higher operating margin because of our ability to cluster our large Singapore portfolio to maximise our revenue, and at the same time reduce costs through our economies of scale," he added.

"The increase in fee-based management contracts and better margins from our growing scale will contribute to our goal of achieving a return on equity of 12-15 per cent by 2005."

Mr Kee added that such management contracts will also enable the company to grow rapidly its network of residence units from the current 6,000 to 15,000 units by 2005, with high capital productivity.

The apartment project at Bencoolen will comprise one to three bedroom units and offer facilities such as a gymnasium, swimming pool and residents' lounge. As part of The Ascott Group's Somerset brand of serviced residences, the property will be targeted at middle to upper management executives and project a contemporary and stylish image.

The group has four other Somerset residences in Singapore - the 144-unit Somerset Grand Cairnhill, 88-unit Somerset Orchard, 192-unit Somerset Liang Court and 72-unit Somerset Compass. In addition, it offers its top of the line 153-unit The Ascott Singapore. The luxury Ascott brand is targeted at top executives and depicts a distinguished and elegant lifestyle.

The company's The Ascott and Somerset serviced residence brands are dominant market leaders in the region. The group owns or manages over 6,000 serviced residence units in 16 cities in 10 countries.

The Ascott Group was created through the merger between The Ascott Limited and Somerset Holdings Limited in November 2000. It is the serviced residence arm of CapitaLand Limited, Southeast Asia's largest listed property company. The Ascott Group's shares trade as "Ascott" on the Singapore Exchange.







Ida Lim, Vice President
Investor Relations & Corporate Communications
Tel: 65867-230 Hp: 9-6288-339 Fax: 62272-220

Tay Cheng Cheng, Assistant Manager
Investor Relations & Corporate Communications
Tel: 65867-231 Pgr: 9-2660-127 Fax: 62272-220