30 Jun

Ascott Secures Management Contract For Serviced Residence In Melbourne

The Ascott Group, a leading international serviced residence company, has secured the management contract for a 127-unit operational serviced residence in Melbourne, Australia.

Located near Melbourne's central business district, the property at St Kilda overlooks the city's Royal Botanic Gardens and is close to the Arts Centre, Crown Casino, offices and shops.

Ascott will manage the residence for seven years, with the option to renew the contract for a further two consecutive five-year terms. It will relaunch the property as Somerset Botanic Gardens, an upper-tier serviced residence targeted at senior to upper management executives, next month.

Somerset Botanic Gardens offers stylish studio to two-bedroom suites, with a heated indoor pool, gym, spa, sauna and conference facilities.

The Ascott Group has more than 13,500 serviced apartments in over 100 properties at 37 cities across Europe, Asia and Australasia. In Australia, it manages 850 serviced residence units in Melbourne, Sydney and Hobart under its upper-tier Somerset and mid-tier Oakford brands.

Ascott's deputy CEO (Operations), Mr Cameron Ong, said: "Melbourne's vibrant corporate business base and leisure market will sustain healthy demand for serviced residences.

"Australia's continuing strong economy and major events such as the Rugby World Cup, Melbourne Cup horse races and lead-up to the 2006 Commonwealth Games will further spur demand for short to medium-term apartment style accommodation."

Building Somerset Brand In Australia
Mr Ong added that the management contract is part of the group's major initiative this year to increase the market penetration of its Somerset brand in Australia. In Southeast and North Asia, Somerset commands brand leadership for the upper-tier serviced residence category.

Later this year, Ascott will rebrand and relaunch four existing properties as Somerset serviced residences in Sydney, Hobart and Melbourne. It will also open two new Somerset properties - the 135-unit Somerset on Elizabeth in Melbourne and 173-unit Somerset North Ryde in Sydney.

Somerset Botanic Gardens
Mr Ong said that the Somerset Botanic Gardens management contract is in line with Ascott's strategy to grow its Australian portfolio through securing more management contracts. The increased proportion of management fee income in its earnings will improve its capital productivity.

He added the serviced residence will rapidly build its occupancy and profitability by tapping Ascott's extensive international sales and marketing network and economies of scale in Australia.

The Somerset Botanic Gardens management contract is not expected to have any material impact on Ascott's financial results for the current financial year.

Background - About The Ascott Group's Properties in Australia 

A. Serviced Residences

In Sydney
Somerset Hyde Park - 53 units, CBD
In the heart of Sydney's CBD and overlooking Hyde Park, each of the residence' one and two-bedroom suites features a private balcony and designer bedroom. Facilities include an indoor heated pool, gym, spa, sauna, café and residents' lounge.

Oakford Darling Harbour - 119 units, Darling Harbour
The residence is within walking distance of Sydney's CBD and tourist attractions. Facilities include a bar and brasserie, swimming pool, gym and sauna. Units range from studio to three-bedroom suites.

Somerset North Ryde - 173 units, North Ryde (opening Q4 2003)
In the heart of Sydney's northwestern technology-belt, the residence will be equipped with innovative business facilities. Close to Lane Cove National Park and Macquarie Shopping Centre, the property is a 20-minute drive from Sydney's CBD. Facilities include a gym, pool, spa, restaurant and conference rooms. Units comprise studio and one-bedroom suites.

Oakford City West - 31 units, Camperdown
Close to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Sydney University, the residence is a short stroll from Newtown and Glebe's restaurants and markets. Three kilometres from Sydney's CBD, and a five-minute drive from Darling Harbour, the residence offers one and two-bedroom suites, a pool and café.

In Melbourne
Somerset Botanic Gardens - 127 units, St Kilda
The residence on tree-lined St Kilda Road is minutes from Melbourne's CBD and cosmopolitan South Yarra. Facilities include an indoor pool, sauna, spa, gym, restaurant and conference centre. Units range from studio to two-bedroom suites.

Somerset on Elizabeth - 135 units, CBD (Opening Q4 2003)
In the heart of Melbourne's CBD, the residence is a stroll from Bourke Street Mall and Myer department store, offices and entertainment areas. Somerset on Elizabeth will offer one and two-bedroom suites. Facilities include a gym, sauna, jogging track and spa.

Oakford Gordon Place - 63 units, CBD
Within Melbourne's CBD, the residence is a short walk to theatres, Bourke Street Mall and Chinatown. Surrounding a spacious inner courtyard, the National Trust listed property offers studio, one and two-bedroom suites. Facilities include a spa, swimming pool and gym.

Oakford on Collins - 54 units, CBD
At the corner of Collins and Swanston streets, the residence is in the heart of the city's business, shopping and entertainment districts. Next to the Regent and Athenaeum theatres, it is a short walk from Southbank and Arts Centre. Facilities include a gym, spa and business centre. Units comprise one and two-bedroom suites.

Oakford Gordon Towers - 54 units, CBD
In the heart of the CBD, the property is a stroll away from the waterfront restaurants and boutiques at Southgate and a short tram ride from Queen Victoria Market and the shopping villages of St Kilda and Chapel Street. The residence offers one and two-bedroom suites, a pool, spa and gym.

Oakford on Lygon - 53 units, Carlton
Next to the popular Lygon Street entertainment district in the CBD, the residence is close to the cafes of downtown Carlton, Melbourne's 'Little Italy'. The Royal Exhibition Building, hospitals and universities are nearby. The property offers one to three-bedroom suites and a business centre.

Oakford The Mews - 40 units, South Yarra
Surrounded by boutiques and cafes, the residence is adjacent to the fashionable Prahran Market and close to the shops and restaurants at Chapel Street and Toorak Road. Units range from one to three-bedroom suites, with Internet access.

In Hobart
Oakford on the Pier - 56 units, Salamanca Place
Surrounded by water on three sides, the residence offers panoramic views of Derwent River and Hobart's waterfront activities. Units range from one-bedroom suites to family studios with loft-style bedrooms. Facilities include a gym and business centre.

Oakford on Salamanca - 18 units, Salamanca
Place A short walk from Salamanca Place's popular weekend market, the residence offers studio to two-bedroom suites, with a private balcony or courtyard. Facilities include a gym and business centre services.

B. Corporate Leasing

The Ultimate Apartments - 24 units, South Yarra
The residence is close to the shopping and dining areas at Chapel Street and Toorak Road. Units comprise two and three-bedroom townhouses.

Potts Point Apartments - 35 units, Potts Point
Offering views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, the residence is minutes away from the CBD. Units range from studio apartments to penthouses.


About The Ascott Group

The Ascott Group is a leading international serviced residence company with serviced residence units spanning the gateway cities of Europe, Southeast Asia, North Asia and Australasia.

Ascott's global presence comprises 13,500 serviced residence units in more than 100 properties across 37 cities in 15 countries. These cities include London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Barcelona in Europe; Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing in Asia; and Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland in Australasia.

Headquartered in Singapore, The Ascott Group pioneered the Asia Pacific's first branded luxury serviced residence in 1984. Today, it boasts a 19-year industry track record and serviced residence brands that enjoy strong recognition worldwide.

The Group's flagship The Ascott luxury serviced residence brand projects an elegant lifestyle appealing to top executives. Its Somerset upper-tier brand offers stylish, contemporary living for senior to upper management executives. The mid-tier Oakford brand in Australia and Citadines brand in Europe provide corporate executives with comfortable city residences.

Listed on the mainboard of the Singapore Exchange, the Group is the serviced residence arm of CapitaLand Limited, one of the largest listed property companies in Asia.

For reservations on Ascott properties, call Central Reservations on (65) 6272-7272 or visit the Group's website at www.the-ascott.com.

Ida Lim, Vice President, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications
Tel: (65) 6586 7230 Hp: (65) 9628 8339 Fax: (65) 6586 7202
Email: ida.lim@the-ascott.com

Betsy Tan, Executive
Tel: (65) 6586 7234 Hp: (65) 9641 6920 Fax: (65) 6586 7202
Email: betsy.tan@the-ascott.com