29 Nov

Ascott Expands In The Gulf Region, Adds Bahrain And Qatar To Its Global Footprint

PM Lee Hsien Loong witnesses Ascott’s signing ceremony to manage two of at least 15 serviced residences in the Middle East & North Africa by 2010

Singapore, 29 November 2006 – The Ascott Group (Ascott) will sign management contracts with MENA Serviced Residence Holding BSC (C) today for two serviced residences - the 118-unit Somerset Juffair, Manama City in Bahrain and the 200-unit Somerset Corniche, Doha in Qatar. Ascott will manage the two properties for 10 years with an option to renew the contracts for another 10 years.

The contracts are part of Ascott’s master development agreement with Addax Investment Bank (Addax) signed in April this year to launch at least 15 serviced residences across the Middle East and North Africa by 2010.  MENA Serviced Residence Holding BSC (C), to be renamed Nuzul Holding BSC (C), is the holding company set up by Addax in June this year to source for, acquire and develop the serviced residences.

Under the master development agreement, Addax will set up and manage a US$1 billion investment fund to finance the acquisition and development of the serviced residences.  Ascott will manage the serviced residences, provide technical consultation on the development, design and renovation as well as create marketing and branding programmes for the properties. 

The signing ceremony will be held today in conjunction with International Enterprise Singapore’s (IE Singapore) office opening in Doha. IE Singapore is an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry spearheading Singapore's efforts to develop its external economic wing.

Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong will officiate at both events.  Ascott’s signing ceremony and IE Singapore’s office opening are part of a business mission to Saudi Arabia and Qatar organised by IE Singapore in which Ascott is one of the 17 participating companies from Singapore.

Mr Cameron Ong, Ascott’s Managing Director and CEO said: “The Gulf region is an important growth market for Ascott.  Ascott has been looking at the region for several years and we have strong confidence in the market.  The Singapore government’s drive to promote greater cooperation between our countries is a strong signal that it is timely for Singapore companies to enter the region.  Ascott’s strategy is to gain a foothold in the key gateway cities in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).”

Mr Ali Al Obaidli, Chairman of Nuzul Holding BSC (C) said: “Hotels in the GCC region enjoy high occupancy due to a shortage of quality accommodation. With the upcoming Asian Games in Doha, there is a surge in demand for lodging.  In addition, given the region’s strong economic, foreign investment and tourism growth, we expect an increasing demand for serviced residences from expatriates, inter-state travellers and international travellers to the Gulf region.”

The GCC comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Bahrain is the financial and oil refinery hub of the region, while Qatar is expected to remain one of the region’s top economic performers over the next two to three years.

Somerset Juffair, Manama City and Somerset Corniche, Doha are targeted to be opened in the first half of 2007. 

Somerset Juffair, Manama City
The 118-unit serviced residence offers a scenic view of Manama City, the capital of Bahrain. It is located near the coast in Juffair, overlooking the bay of Al Muharraq Island. Juffair is an exclusive residential area, home to many young expatriates, and has some of the finest dining locations in the country. Somerset Juffair will offer one, two and three-bedroom units. Facilities include a swimming pool and a gymnasium.

Somerset Corniche, Doha
The 200-unit Somerset Corniche, Doha is located in West Bay, the new district in Doha and the new commercial centre of Qatar. The property is located in a diplomatic area. It overlooks the coast and offers a scenic view of the Arabian Gulf.  The property is a short walk to the City Center Mall, one of the largest shopping complexes in the Gulf region.  The property will have two and three-bedroom units.  There is also a gymnasium for residents’ use.

Ascott opened its first property in the Gulf region, Somerset Jadaf, Dubai in July this year and the property is operating at 90% occupancy. With the two serviced residences in Bahrain and Qatar, Ascott will have a global portfolio of 17,393 serviced residence units in 45 cities in 20 countries.

About Addax Investment Bank

Addax Investment Bank has an authorised capital of US$100 million and is regulated by the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA). The Bank was formed in 2003 and has been involved in a number of high profile deals in the region.

About The Ascott Group

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

The Group operates three brands – Ascott, Somerset and Citadines. Its portfolio spans 45 cities in 20 countries including London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Barcelona in Europe; Singapore, Bangkok, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, 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.  Recent awards include Travel Weekly China 2006 ‘Best Serviced Residence’, Business Traveller China 2006 ‘Best Serviced Residence Brand in China’, TTG Travel 2006 ‘Best Serviced Residence’, 2006 World Travel Awards, Business Traveller Asia Pacific 2006 ‘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 real estate 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 80 cities in nearly 20 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