Ascott buys Dublin hotel to extend reach in Europe

Mainboard-listed CapitaLand said yesterday that its wholly owned serviced-residence business unit, The Ascott, has expanded its global footprint to Ireland, one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe.

Ascott has acquired an operating hotel in Ireland's capital Dublin, the 136-unit Temple Bar Hotel, for €55.1 million (S$83 million).

Located within Temple Bar, the cultural heart of Dublin's city centre, the property is close to museums, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, galleries and attractions such as the famous Dublin Castle, Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery.

"Europe is a key market for Ascott's global expansion," said Mr Lee Chee Koon, Ascott's chief executive officer. "The acquisition will boost Ascott's €1.2 billion portfolio in Europe and bring us closer to our target of 10,000 units in the region by 2020."

The Republic of Ireland has been used as a launch pad to the European Union by many US companies. The nation's pro-business environment has attracted firms such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and LinkedIn to establish their European headquarters in Dublin.

In the wake of the Brexit vote, Dublin has stepped up efforts to woo multinational companies to site their EU-based operations in Ireland.

Ireland's economy is expected to expand by 4.9 per cent this year, one of the top three fastest growing economies in Europe.

Ireland also saw a record number of visitors, up 12 per cent in the first nine months of this year. Dublin hotels had the highest revenue per available room (RevPAR) growth in Europe last year, and the city is expected to top European cities in RevPAR growth again next year, according to a statement by Ascott.

The company added that with extended stay accommodation supply at only 0.08 unit per 1,000 overseas visitors in Dublin, the market presents huge potential for Ascott.

"The property has been achieving over 80 per cent occupancy in the last few months and we are confident that we will be able to add value to this prime asset," said Mr Alfred Ong, Ascott's managing director for Europe. "There are already plans to rebrand the property at a later date."

The acquisition brings Ascott's portfolio in Europe to more than 5,400 units in 45 properties across 19 cities in Belgium, France, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2016, with the headline 'Ascott buys Dublin hotel to extend reach in Europe'. Print Edition | Subscribe