16 Dec

Ascott Wins Contract To Manage Two Serviced Residences in Dubai, Extends Global Presence to Gulf Region

Singapore, December 16, 2003 - The Ascott Group, a leading international serviced residence company, has secured a contract to manage two prime serviced residences in Dubai city, giving it strategic market entry to the Gulf region.

Ascott signed today a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with one of the Gulf’s largest developers, EMAAR Properties PJSC, to manage two residences with about 250 serviced apartments in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This will make Ascott a major serviced residence operator in the Gulf region, extending the group’s global profile as Asia Pacific and Europe’s largest serviced residence chain with over 13,500 serviced apartments in 38 cities.

Ascott is the serviced residence arm of CapitaLand Limited, one of Asia’s largest listed property companies. EMAAR Properties, with asset base of over US$6 billion (about S$10.3 billion), is listed on the Dubai Financial Market. The government of Dubai owns a 32 per cent stake in the company.

Under the terms of the MOU, Ascott will manage the 96-unit Al Majarah Tower serviced residence, which is expected to open end next year. The residence is part of Dubai Marina, slated to be the world’s largest waterfront development at Sheikh Zayed Road, close to the Dubai Internet City and Media City, and the American University of Dubai.

Ascott will also manage a 150-unit serviced residence at the prestigious Burj Dubai development on Sheikh Zayed Road, scheduled to open at end 2005. The development by EMAAR Properties includes the Burj Dubai Tower, slated to be the world’s tallest skyscraper, and Dubai Mall, the world’s largest retail complex at nine million square feet, when completed in 2006.

Opportunity To Tap Region’s Growth
Mr AJ Jaganathan, chief executive officer of EMAAR Properties, said: “As a leading serviced residence operator with large operational infrastructure in Europe and Asia Pacific, and a 19-year industry track record, Ascott has the right experience to service our developments to the highest standards.”

Ascott’s deputy chairman, and president and CEO of its parent company CapitaLand Limited, Mr Liew Mun Leong, said: “The Dubai agreement is a milestone in Ascott’s global expansion. The link-up with one of the Gulf’s largest property developers will give Ascott a pipeline of quality projects to manage.

“Prospects for the Gulf region are bright, with the improving global economic outlook, higher oil prices, and reconstruction programme in Iraq. The UAE’s GDP is expected to grow over four per cent this year and next year. Dubai’s role as the Gulf region’s commercial and financial hub is underpinned by the UAE government’s substantial investments in the last seven years to build the city’s financial, retail and tourism infrastructure.”

Mr Eugene Lai, Ascott’s chief executive officer, said that Dubai’s free trade zones host more than 3,000 companies, including many multinationals. Business activity in Dubai is expected to expand further with the opening of the Dubai International Financial Centre next year, and a number of other large projects being developed such as the Dubai Technology and Media Centre, Dubai Health Care City, Dubai Mall and Dubailand theme park.

Dubai also targets to grow annual visitor numbers from three million now to 15 million by 2010, and increase its airport’s capacity from 20 million passengers to 60 million by 2012.

He added that serviced residences in Dubai enjoy good occupancies due to strong demand from regional travellers, local expatriates and the increasing number of multinational companies with regional offices in the city.

Mr Lai said that Ascott’s participation in EMAAR Properties’ high profile developments will help accelerate the growth of its serviced residence brands into global marques. The MOU is in line with Ascott’s strategy of asset light growth, while expanding its operational infrastructure and marketing network to better service its multinational clients.

Prime Serviced Residences
Under the MOU, Ascott will manage the serviced residences for an initial five-year term, renewable for another five years, and provide pre-opening technical assistance. The residences will feature spacious, stylish apartments with recreational and business facilities.

The agreement is not expected to have any material impact on the group’s financial results for the current financial year.



About Emaar Properties PJSC

Listed on the Dubai Financial Market, EMAAR Properties PJSC is the Gulf region’s largest property developer. The government of Dubai owns 32 per cent interest in the company, which has an asset base of US$6 billion and 10 major real estate projects under development in UAE.

The projects include the Dubai Marina, slated to be one of the world’s largest waterfront developments, as well as the residential estates Arabian Ranches, Emirates Hills, The Meadows, The Springs, The Lakes, The Greens and EMAAR Towers in downtown Dubai. The company also owns and manages the Gold and Diamond Park, a free trade zone and industrial park for the gold and diamond industry; and plans to build Burj Dubai Tower, the world’s tallest skyscraper.

EMAAR Properties has also diversified into related retail and commercial banking, mortgage finance, technology and communications. Its wholly owned subsidiaries include The Dubai Bank; mortgage and finance company Amlak Finance; and Sahm Technologies, a technology communications firm. It also owns EMRILL, a property management services company, through a joint venture with the UK-based Carillion Plc.

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 110 properties across 38 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.

Headquartered in Singapore, CapitaLand’s core businesses in property, hospitality, property services and real estate financial services are focused in gateway cities in Asia, Australia and Europe. The company's hospitality businesses, in hotels and serviced residences, span more than 60 cities around the world. CapitaLand also leverages on its significant real estate asset base and market knowledge to develop fee-based products and services in Singapore and the region.

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

Tay Cheng Cheng, Assistant Manager
Tel: (65) 6586 7231 Hp: (65) 9010 0627 Fax: (65) 6586 7202
Email: tay.chengcheng@the-ascott.com