01 Dec

Ascott Partners Thailand’s Thakral Family to Launch Five Citadines Serviced Residences – Ascott’s First Citadines in Thailand

Ascott entrenches leadership position in Bangkok with The Ascott, Somerset and Citadines

The Ascott Group (Ascott) has formed a joint venture (JV) company with Prab Thakral and family to launch five Citadines serviced residences in Bangkok. The JV agreement which marks the launch of Ascott’s Citadines brand in Thailand was signed today between its wholly-owned Singapore-incorporated company, Citadines Bangkok (S) Pte Ltd and Boutique Group Ltd, owned by Thailand’s Thakral family.

As part of the JV agreement, Citadines Bangkok (S) Pte Ltd will acquire 49 percent of the JV company, Boutique Land Ltd, while the remaining will be held by the Thakral family. The target is to launch five Citadines serviced residences with about 500 units by 2010.

The Citadines JV further entrenches Ascott’s leadership position as the largest international serviced residence operator in Thailand where Ascott has a portfolio of more than 1,300 units in six properties under The Ascott and Somerset brands in Bangkok.

Ascott’s first Citadines property in Thailand, a 79-unit serviced residence called Citadines Sukhumvit 16, is targeted to be opened in the second half of 2006. Upon completion, Ascott will manage the property for a period of 10 years with an option to renew for another 10 years, subject to agreement from both parties.

Ascott has a global portfolio of more than 15,000 serviced residence units in 40 cities and 17 countries across Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Gulf region. More than 5,000 units are under the Citadines brand in France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany and Spain.

Mr Prab Thakral, Managing Director of Boutique Land Ltd said: “With Ascott’s proven track record, expertise and knowledge in managing serviced residences in various parts of the world, we are confident that this joint venture will help strengthen our company’s presence in the Thai market.”

Mr Liew Mun Leong, Ascott’s Deputy Chairman, and President and CEO of its parent company CapitaLand Limited said: “Ascott currently captures about 20% of Bangkok’s upper tier serviced residence market under The Ascott and Somerset brands. Citadines is a well established hospitality brand in Europe; this joint venture enables us to launch several properties under the Citadines brand in Thailand to reap economies of scale and leverage on our strong brand reputation in Bangkok’s serviced residence market across all segments.”

“Ascott will be leveraging on the strengths of the Citadines brand name as well as its flexible business model to launch new Citadines-branded properties across Asia. Ascott’s Citadines properties in Asia will be adapted to meet preferences and needs specific to the Asian market. For example, instead of having foldaway beds which are popular in Europe, Citadines Jinqiao, our first Citadines property in Asia, will have fully-structured beds as well as larger unit space compared to those in Europe, when it opens in the first quarter of 2006 in Shanghai,” added Mr Liew.

Ascott’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Cameron Ong said: "The Ascott and Somerset brands have been well received in Bangkok. The Ascott Sathorn in Bangkok is particularly popular among top business executives and the well heeled, while our Somerset properties are a favourite with business executives who travel with their families. There is a growing demand particularly from younger business executives and single business travellers for smaller-sized apartment units that offer good value. Our Citadines properties are an ideal product for these business travellers - Citadines Sukhumvit 16 will feature studio units, and offer residents the flexibility of choosing from the a la carte services available so that they only pay for what they need.”

“The signing of this JV is also part of Ascott’s strategy to enhance our foothold in Thailand’s serviced residence industry through the launch of Citadines-branded properties. It further demonstrates Ascott’s confidence in Citadines’ strong brand equity, and in Bangkok’s hospitality industry,” added Mr Ong.

Citadines Sukhumvit 16 will be located in Bangkok's thriving Sukhumvit business district, within a 5-minute walking distance from the BTS Skytrain and the Subway stations. The international airport is only a 40-minute drive from the property. A wide range of facilities will be available near Citadines Sukhumvit 16 including retail, entertainment and food and beverage outlets, hospitals, international schools, daycare centres, embassies and the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre.

Ascott’s current portfolio of properties in Bangkok includes The Ascott Sathorn, Somerset Lake Point, Somerset Park Suanplu, Somerset Suwan Park View, Somerset Grand Sukhumvit and Omni Tower.

The management contract and JV are not expected to have any material impact on the Ascott’s financial results for the current financial year.

About Boutique Land Ltd

Prab Thakral of Boutique Land Ltd is the 4th generation of the Thakral families in Thailand and has interest in various properties and businesses within the region.

About The Ascott Group

The Ascott Group is a leading international serviced residence company with 15,000 serviced residence units in the key cities of Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Gulf region.

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; as well as Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland in Australia/New Zealand.

Headquartered in Singapore, The Ascott Group pioneered Asia Pacific's first branded luxury serviced residence in 1984. Today, it boasts a 21-year industry track record and serviced residence brands that enjoy recognition worldwide.

The Group operates three brands – The Ascott, Somerset and Citadines. Its achievements have been recognised internationally; it has clinched numerous prestigious awards including ‘Best Accommodation’ by The Ascott Metropolis Auckland in the 2005 World Travel Awards, TTG Asia Media’s Best Serviced Residence Operator award and the Business Traveller’s 2005 Best Serviced Residence Brand and Best Serviced Residence in Asia Pacific awards. For a full list of these awards, please visit : https://www.the-ascott.com/aboutus/awards_and_accolades.html?year=2007

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, the multinational company's core businesses in property, hospitality and real estate financial services are focused in gateway cities in Asia, Australia, Europe and the Gulf region. Its property and hospitality portfolio spans more than 70 cities in 17 countries.

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