12 Jul

Ascott Strengthens Presence In Japan's Serviced Residence Market

Singapore, July 12, 2004 - The Ascott Group has increased its investment in Japan. It has boosted to a majority stake its interest in its joint venture company to manage serviced residences with Mitsubishi Estate Company, and made its first asset investment in Japan.

Ascott has acquired an additional 11 per cent interest in Ascott International Management (Japan) for JPY 5.5 million (USD 51,000) to increase its stake in the management company to 60 per cent. It has also invested JPY 500 million (USD 4.6 million) to take a 40 per cent interest in Somerset Roppongi, a 64-unit serviced residence it is managing in Tokyo.

Ascott is a leading international serviced residence company with 13,800 serviced residence units in 39 cities in Europe and Asia Pacific. It is the serviced residence arm of CapitaLand Limited, one of Asia’s largest listed property companies. In Tokyo, besides Somerset Roppongi, Ascott manages the 79-unit Somerset Azabu East serviced residence, and 193 corporate leasing apartments.

Ascott’s chairman, Mr Lim Chin Beng, said: "We are pleased that Ascott’s relationship and joint venture with Mitsubishi Estate has deepened further. The increased stake will position Ascott for greater direct participation in the lodging market in Japan. Ascott will pursue its strategic plan of expanding its presence in Japan from the current 140 serviced apartments in Tokyo to 500 to 700 units in key Japanese cities in five years’ time.

"The continued increase in foreign business activity in North Asia augurs well for the lodging business in Japan. Moreover, the improving economic outlook for Japan is positive not only for serviced residences but also for the retail property business and other real estate-related services provided by the CapitaLand group."

Ascott’s chief executive officer, Mr Eugene Lai, said: "We believe this is a good time for Ascott to be investing in Japan and our partnership with Mitsubishi Estate will give us a strong platform to expand further."

Mr Lai added that the group will grow its global portfolio of serviced residences through a mix of equity participation, leases and management contracts.

Ascott’s joint venture with Mitsubishi Esate Company Limited was formed in 2002 with Ascott holding a 49 per cent stake and Mitsubishi Estate, 51 per cent. Mitsubishi Estate is one of Japan's largest real estate developers with US$20.5 billion assets, mainly in Tokyo.

The transaction is not expected to have any material impact on the net tangible assets or earnings per share of the Ascott Group for the financial year ending December 31, 2004.



Ascott's Serviced Residences in Japan 

In Tokyo
Somerset Roppongi – 64 units, Minato Ward
The upper-tier Somerset Roppongi is in Tokyo’s prime business and embassy area, near multinational firms, and the restaurants and shops of Roppongi Hills. Roppongi subway station is a five-minute walk away. Facilities include a restaurant, gym and residents’ lounge. The stylish studio to two-bedroom suites have broadband internet access, and a fully-equipped kitchen.

Somerset Azabu East – 79 units, Minato Ward
Located in Minato ward, a preferred area with Tokyo’s expatriate community, the upper-tier serviced residence is close to embassies and restaurants. Facilities include a gym, swimming pool and residents’ lounge. Units range from contemporary studio to one-bedroom suites.


About The Ascott Group

The Ascott Group is a leading international serviced residence company with 13,800 serviced residence units in the key cities of Europe and Asia Pacific.

Ascott's global presence spans 39 cities in 16 countries. These include London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Barcelona in Europe; Singapore, Bangkok, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing in Asia; Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland in Australia and New Zealand; and Dubai in the Gulf region.

Through its marketing alliance with Equity Corporate Housing, the group also offers upper-tier serviced apartments throughout the US. Headquartered in Singapore, The Ascott Group pioneered the Asia Pacific’s first branded luxury serviced residence in 1984. Today, it boasts a 20-year industry track record and serviced residence brands that enjoy 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.

Recent awards the group has clinched include the Number One position in the 2004 China’s Top 100 Serviced Residences ranking for its eight properties in China, 2004 Best Service in Serviced Apartments awards in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and Best Annual Report and Best Operating and Financial Review awards at Singapore’s 2004 Annual Report Awards.

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

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


Ascott’s Other Serviced Residences In North Asia

In Beijing
The Ascott Beijing – 272 units, Chaoyang district
The luxury-tier residence in the city's CBD is close to the China World Trade Centre. It boasts designer fittings and extensive facilities including an indoor glass-roofed pool, fully equipped fitness centre and business centre. Units range from elegant one-bedroom suites to four-bedroom penthouses.

Somerset Fortune Garden – 221 units, Chaoyang district
Located in the business area of Chaoyang district, Somerset Fortune Garden is near international schools, embassies and entertainment centres. Facilities include a gym, indoor heated pool and residents' lounge. Units range from one to four-bedroom suites, with private balconies and scenic city views.

Luxury Serviced Residence – 100 units, Chaoyang district
Located in Beijing's prime Chaoyang residential district, the mid-tier residence is near Scitech Plaza and Friendship Store shopping mall, Silk Market, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Jianguomen subway station. Facilities include a gym, sauna, business centre and lounge. Units range from one to four-bedroom apartments.

In Shanghai
The Ascott Pudong – 248 units, Pudong district
Boasting spectacular views of the Huangpu River, the luxury-tier The Ascott Pudong offers facilities such as a business centre, indoor heated pool, gym, sauna, indoor tennis court and residents' lounge. Units range from one to four-bedroom designer suites and elegant penthouses.

Somerset Grand Shanghai – 334 units, Luwan district
Located along Huai Hai Zhong Road, Somerset Grand Shanghai is in the heart of Shanghai's main business, shopping and dining belt. Facilities include an indoor heated swimming pool and an international kindergarten. Units range from one to three-bedroom suites.

Somerset Xu Hui – 167 units, Xuhui district
Situated in the Xuhui residential estate, Somerset Xu Hui is close to shopping and entertainment facilities in Huai Hai Zhong Road and Xujiahui. Facilities include a gym, indoor heated pool, lounge and tennis court. It offers spacious one to three-bedroom suites.

In Dalian
Somerset Harbour Court – 106 units, Zhongshan district
Part of the prime Dalian Asia Pacific Finance Centre in the city's CBD, the residence is a stroll from Dalian harbour's passenger station and a five-minute drive from the railway station. Facilities include a gym, business centre and lounge. Units comprise one and two-bedroom suites.

In Tianjin
Somerset Olympic Tower – 169 units, Heping district
In the heart of Tianjin's prime upmarket shopping area and residential district, Somerset Olympic Tower is close to international schools and the Tianjin railway station. Facilities include an indoor heated pool, gym, rooftop garden and barbecue area. Units range from one-bedroom suites to four-bedroom penthouses.

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

Lilian Goh, Manager
Tel: (65) 6586 7231 Hp: (65) 9795 5225 Email: lilian.goh@the-ascott.com