04 Jan

The Ascott Group Receives Prestigious Awards from Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City Governments

The Ascott Group, through its joint venture company in Vietnam, today (January 4, 2005) received a prestigious award from Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment, and three awards from the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam’s deputy minister, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Mr Nguyen Bich Dat, today presented a ‘Certificate of Excellence’ to Ascott’s joint venture company, Mekong Hakota Joint Venture Company (MHJVC), at its 10th year anniversary celebrations. The recognition is for the quality management of Ascott’s joint venture company, and contributions to Vietnam’s business environment and economy over the last 10 years.

The vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, Mr Nguyen Huu Tin, also awarded ‘Certificates of Excellence’ to the company, as well as its vice chairman, Mr Trinh Dinh Vinh, and chief accountant Miss Yaw Suk Chun. The awards recognise the high standards of management in the company, and its role over the years, in helping to grow Ho Chi Minh City’s business infrastructure and international community.

Ascott was one of the first Singapore companies to invest in Vietnam in 1994. Today, it has grown into the largest international serviced residence operator in the country with 563 serviced apartments in four properties. Ascott commands 20 per cent market share of the upper tier serviced residence business in Vietnam.

MHJVC is a joint venture primarily between Ascott Residences Pte Ltd, an Ascott subsidiary, and its Vietnam partner, Hacota Manufacture Export Import & Tourism Company. The JV firm owns the 165-unit Somerset Ho Chi Minh City.

Ascott’s other residences in Vietnam include the 151-unit Somerset Chancellor Court in Ho Chi Minh City, 185-unit Somerset Grand Hanoi and 62-unit Somerset West Lake in Hanoi.

The Ascott Group is a leading international serviced residence company with over 13,800 serviced residence units in 40 cities in 17 countries across Asia Pacific and Europe.

Poised for Growth
Ascott’s chief executive officer, Mr Cameron Ong, said: "We entered Vietnam 10 years ago with a long term strategy, and to be reliable partners who would grow with, and contribute to the local business community. The awards recognise our committed efforts over the years, through the Asian financial crisis and SARS outbreak."

"Going forward, we are excited about the outlook for Vietnam’s serviced residence industry. The country’s stable political and economic conditions, and government’s recent initiatives to improve the business environment are making it an increasingly attractive destination for tourists and investors. Business visitor arrivals grew 15 per cent in the first nine months 2004."

"With our commanding leadership in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, we are well positioned to benefit from Vietnam’s vibrant economy.

"Vietnam’s GDP is expected to grow over seven per cent in 2004 and 2005, while foreign investment reached new levels last year. The expanding manufacturing base, tourism sector, and improving infrastructure, are spurring foreign business activity. Many multinational companies are expanding their operations, or setting up offices. These are excellent drivers for serviced residence demand."

Mr Ong added: "We will broaden our product range in the country beyond our upper-tier Somerset serviced residences. As demand expands and Vietnam’s accommodations industry develops, we will increase our presence with greater market segmentation and product differentiation. We will explore opportunities to introduce the mid-tier Citadines serviced residence brand in Vietnam."

Brand Leaders
He added that Somerset serviced residences are brand leaders in Vietnam, consistently outperforming the market in rates and occupancies. Somerset Grand Hanoi became the city’s first serviced residence with en-suite wireless internet surfing in April last year.

The group’s residences won the Vietnam Guide Awards for Best Service in Serviced Apartments in 2003 and 2004. Somerset Grand Hanoi clinched the Best Service award in Hanoi, two years in a row, while Somerset Ho Chi Minh City won the award in the city last year.


About Ascott’s Serviced Residences In Vietnam
Somerset Grand Hanoi – 185 units, Hanoi
The residence is close to the shopping centres and fine restaurants of the prime Hai Ba Trung business district. Facilities include a fully-equipped gym, tennis court, swimming pool, children’s playroom and restaurant. A childcare centre, convention hall and shopping mall are also located in the property. Units range from one-bedroom suites to three-bedroom penthouses.

Somerset West Lake – 62 units, Hanoi
Near the scenic and serene West Lake (Ho Tay) in the Ba Dinh sector, the residence is a few minutes’ drive from the shops and restaurants of the trendy Hoan Kiem district. Facilities include a swimming pool, gym, tennis court and playground. Each of the studio to four-bedroom suites features a balcony, terrace or private garden.

Somerset Ho Chi Minh City – 165 units, Ho Chi Minh City
In the city’s prime District One area, the residence is close to business, shopping and medical centres, and embassies. Facilities include a swimming pool, poolside restaurant, outdoor jacuzzi, gym and playground. Units range from two to four-bedroom suites.

Somerset Chancellor Court – 151 units, Ho Chi Minh City
In the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, near Mac Dinh Chi and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai streets, the residence is near shopping centres and attractions such as the Notre Dame Cathedral. Facilities include a swimming pool, gym and residents’ lounge. Units range from one-bedroom suites to four-bedroom penthouses.

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 40 cities in 17 countries. These include London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Barcelona in Europe; Singapore, Bangkok, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai and Beijing in Asia; Sydney 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 Citadines brand provides corporate executives with comfortable city residences.

Recent awards the group has clinched include the 2004 Business Traveller Best Serviced Residence Brand and Best Serviced Residence property in Asia Pacific awards. It took the Number One position in the 2004 China's Top 100 Serviced Residences ranking for its eight properties in China. Ascott also won the 2004 Vietnam Economic Times' Best Service in Serviced Apartments awards in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and Best Annual Report and Best Operating & 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 .



Ida Lim, VP, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications

Hp: (65) 9628 8339

Email: ida.lim@the-ascott.com

Lilian Goh, Manager

Hp: (65) 9795 5225

Email: lilian.goh@the-ascott.com