24 Aug

Ascott To Acquire And Develop Seven Serviced Residences In South India

Total investment from Ascott and Rattha estimated to be INR 1,000 crore (US$220 million)

Singapore, 24 August 2006 – The Ascott Group (Ascott) has signed a master development agreement with The Rattha Group (Rattha) to acquire and develop seven properties in four southern states in India by 2010. Under the agreement, Ascott will also manage the properties for a period of 10 years with an option to renew the management contract for another 10 years.

The total investment from Ascott and Rattha for the seven properties is estimated to be INR 1,000 crore (US$220 million). These seven properties will have a total of at least 1,000 units. This will form a part of Ascott’s overall target to achieve 2,000 units in India by 2010.

The four southern states in the joint venture agreement include Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Ascott will focus on cities including Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. As part of this master development agreement, the two companies have also signed a joint venture agreement to acquire the first serviced residence in Chennai.

Mr Lim Chin Beng, Ascott’s Chairman said; “India is ranked alongside China as two of the world’s most attractive investment destinations. There is significant growth potential for the serviced apartment industry in India. As more international corporations enter or expand in India, there is a rising demand for extended-stay accommodation from inter-city business travellers and expatriates. Given the shortage of good quality accommodation in India, Ascott’s presence is timely; its three brands of quality serviced residences - Ascott, Somerset and Citadines cater to various segments of travellers.”

Mr Liew Mun Leong, Ascott’s Deputy Chairman, and President and CEO of its parent company CapitaLand Group said; “Ascott’s foray into the secondary cities of India is an extension of CapitaLand Group’s activities to tap on the fast-growing Indian economy. The new serviced residences will complement our growing presence in India’s residential and retail mall sectors. With the master development agreement, Ascott will be able to quickly expand its footprint in south India by adding at least 1,000 units by 2010. Ascott will also be looking at other potential partnerships to further expand its presence in India into gateway cities including New Delhi and Mumbai. Our target is to have at least 2,000 units in the whole of India by 2010.”

Mr Cameron Ong, Ascott’s Managing Director and CEO said; “Our strategy for India is to capitalise on opportunities in key high-growth emerging markets, while we set up a foothold in key gateway cities. We have chosen Chennai as there is strong potential demand for quality accommodation and no serviced residence of international standards in the city. Chennai, popularly known as the ‘gateway to south India’, offers one of the best infrastructures in India. With our entry into India, we have further boosted our presence in Asia and expanded our global footprint to 44 cities in 18 countries.”

Somerset Greenways, Chennai
Ascott will acquire a 40% stake in its first serviced residence in India through a joint venture with Rattha. The property, to be named Somerset Greenways, Chennai, is targeted to be opened in the first half of 2008. It is currently being built and will have approximately 210 units comprising studio, one and two-bedroom units.

The property is in the MRC Nagar area, a 10-minute drive to the central business district where multinational banks, financial and insurance companies are located. It is also a 10-minute drive to the Information Technology Corridor which houses many international and local technology companies.

Speech by Minister of State for Education and Manpower, Mr Gan Kim Yong

About The Rattha Group

The Rattha Group is in the field of exports, infrastructure development and leasing. It is now diversifying into the hospitality industry through its joint venture with The Ascott Group. The Rattha Group has been in the field of exports from India for almost two decades and has major presence in the European and American markets. The infrastructure arm of the Group has successfully bid, developed and delivered for world leaders in information technology like Accenture and Satyam. Projects measuring close to 2 million square feet are being delivered and projects in the pipeline for about 4 million square feet to be completed over the next three years. The Group has acquired land banks in the metro cities to facilitate its large scale expansion plans in the hospitality sector.

About The Ascott Group

The Ascott Group is the largest international serviced residence owner-operator outside the United States with close to 17,000 serviced residence units in key cities of Asia Pacific, Europe and the Gulf Region.

The Group operates three brands – The Ascott, Somerset and Citadines in 44 cities in 18 countries. These include London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Barcelona in Europe; Singapore, Bangkok, Pattaya, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an, Hong Kong, and Chennai in Asia; Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland in Australia / New Zealand as well as Dubai in the Gulf Region.

The Ascott Group is headquartered in Singapore. It pioneered Asia Pacific's first branded luxury serviced residence in 1984. It also established the world’s first pan-Asian serviced residence real estate investment trust, Ascott Residence Trust in 2006. Today, the Group boasts a 22-year industry track record and serviced residence brands that enjoy recognition worldwide.

The Ascott Group’s achievements have been recognised internationally; it has clinched numerous prestigious awards including the ‘Most Outstanding International Brand’ award from Apartment Living magazine in Thailand, ‘2006 Korea Top Brand’ award by Seoul Economy newspaper, Korea Herald’s ‘Readers’ Best Brand Awards 2006’, ‘2006 Best Company & CEO’ award from the Herald Business in Korea, the ‘Best Serviced Residence Brand’ award by Lifestyle + Travel magazine in Thailand, the ‘Innovative Capital Venture’ award at the 2006 China Hotel Investment Summit, 2006 ‘China’s Top 100 Serviced Apartments’ award, Korea Times’ ‘Best International Serviced Residence Brand’ award, the ‘Highly Commended Deluxe Accommodation’ award at the 2005 Tasmanian Tourism Awards, ‘Best Accommodation’ at the 2005 World Travel Awards, TTG Asia Media’s 2005 ‘Best Serviced Residence Operator’ award, and the Business Traveller Asia Pacific’s 2005 ‘Best Serviced Residence Brand’ and ‘Best Serviced Residence’ awards. For a full list of awards, please visit : https://www.the-ascott.com/aboutus/awards_and_accolades.html?year=2007

Listed on the mainboard of the Singapore Exchange, The Ascott Group 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 Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. Its property and hospitality portfolio spans more than 70 cities in 18 countries.

Celina Low, Vice President, Corporate Communications

Tel: (65) 6586 0475 

Hp: (65) 9682 5458 

Email: celina.low@the-ascott.com

Joan Tan, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications

Tel: (65) 6586 0474 

Hp: (65) 9743 9503 

Email: joan.tan@the-ascott.com

Lilian Goh, Head, Investor Relations

Tel: (65) 6586 7231  

Hp: (65) 9795 5225  

Email: lilian.goh@the-ascott.com