31 Jul
2007

Ascott Ventures Into Kazakhstan With Two Management Contracts

Taps on first-mover opportunities in Kazakhstan, the world's 9th largest country

Singapore, 31 July 2007 – The Ascott Group (Ascott) has secured management contracts for two prime serviced residences in Kazakhstan's capital city of Astana, and Aktau, a city in the oil rich western region by the Caspian Sea. Ascott has been awarded the contracts by Tsesna Corporation, a well-established conglomerate in Kazakhstan with diverse businesses ranging from real estate and construction to banking. The two serviced residences to be built by Tsesna Corporation will be named Ascott Astana and Citadines Aktau.

In addition, Ascott has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tsesna Corporation to establish a framework for a strategic partnership to develop and manage serviced residences in Kazakhstan.

Mr Lim Chin Beng, Ascott's Chairman said: "Ascott's entry into Kazakhstan is part of our strategy to further strengthen the Group's global presence by venturing into emerging cities in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The strong levels of travel between Kazakhstan, China, Russia and Western Europe also present opportunities for Ascott to further develop our cross-border expansion strategy by leveraging on the Group's strong international brand reputation and established networks."

Mr Liew Mun Leong, Ascott's Deputy Chairman, and President and CEO of its parent company CapitaLand Group said: "Ascott strengthens its front-runner position in the global serviced residences business by being the first international serviced residence owner-operator in Kazakhstan. The country has strong oil and natural resource industries and has been attracting foreign investments and business travellers. Ascott's entry into Kazakhstan is yet another step for the CapitaLand Group to explore real estate development opportunities in fast growing oil rich countries."

Mr Serik Jaxibekov, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Tsesna Corporation said: "Ascott is an international serviced residence company with proven track record in managing a strong portfolio of serviced residences worldwide. By leveraging on Ascott's knowledge and expertise, we will promote new standards of living for business travellers in Kazakhstan. This is just a first joint project with Ascott and the CapitaLand Group. We look forward to other successful projects."

Mr Gerald Lee, Ascott's CEO for Europe said: "Ascott's partnership with an established company like Tsesna Corporation is a good start for us to enter an emerging market. Astana as the new capital of Kazakhstan has been fast developing as an attractive financial and investment hub, while Aktau is a major port and logistics hub in the oil rich region. We will work with Tsesna Corporation to expand our presence in Kazakhstan across the key cities, and will consider the option of taking equity stakes in some of the future projects."

Kazakhstan bordered by Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and the Caspian Sea, is the ninth largest country in the world. It covers 2.7 million square kilometres, about the size of Western Europe. According to Economist Intelligence Unit, Kazakhstan's annual foreign direct investment is projected to be US$6.5 billion by 2010.

Ascott Astana is targetted for opening in the first half of 2009. When completed, it will be located in the heart of Astana where new iconic real estate projects are being developed. A 10-minute walk to the Presidential Palace and across the landmark Central Mosque, Ascott Astana will be within World Trade Centre, an integrated development which is being developed by Tsesna Corporation. The development will comprise residential, retail, business centre, and an exhibition and convention centre when it is completed in 2009.

Citadines Aktau is also targetted to open in the first half 2009. Aktau is in Western Kazakhstan, one of Kazakhstan's leading economic regions due to its rich oil and gas resources. Aktau is also home to the country's largest port facility, Aktau Port, which has been designated a Free Economic Zone.

Ascott Astana will have about 200 units while Citadines Aktau will have 120 units. The management contracts for these properties are not expected to have any material impact on the net tangible assets or earnings per share of The Ascott Group Limited for the current financial year.

About Tsesna Corporation

Tsesna Corporation was founded in 1988. The Group has diverse businesses in Kazakhstan including real estate, construction, financial services and food manufacturing. Tsesna Corporation has several residential and mixed-use projects under development in Astana and Western Kazakhstan. Tsesna Bank, listed on the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange, is the country's 11th largest bank by asset size. For more information, visit https://www.tsesna.kz/en/.About The Ascott Group

The Ascott Group is the largest international serviced residence owner-operator outside the United States with over 19,500 serviced residence units in key cities of Asia Pacific, Europe and the Gulf region. This includes over 5,500 units which are under development.

The Group operates three brands ' Ascott, Somerset and Citadines. Its portfolio spans over 50 cities in 22 countries, 11 of which are new cities where Ascott's serviced residences are being developed. Ascott's properties can be found in cities including London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Barcelona in Europe; Singapore, Bangkok, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong 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 23-year industry track record and serviced residence brands that enjoy recognition worldwide.

The Ascott Group's achievements have been recognised internationally. Recent awards include TravelWeekly Asia Industry Awards 2007 'Best Serviced Residence (Group)', China 2007 'Top 100 Serviced Apartments Award', Vietnam Economic Times 2006 'Golden Dragon Award', The Asset's 2006 'Triple A Country Award for Best Deal in Singapore', 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: Accolades.

Listed on the mainboard of the Singapore Exchange, The Ascott Group is the serviced residence arm of CapitaLand Limited, one of the largest listed real estate companies in Asia. Headquartered in Singapore, the multinational company's core businesses in real estate, hospitality and real estate financial services are focused in gateway cities in Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. The company's real estate and hospitality portfolio spans more than 90 cities in over 20 countries.

For more information on The Ascott Group’s property listings, visit Group Directory Listing.

Media
Celina Low, Vice President, Corporate Communications

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Joan Tan, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications

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