CapitaLand's The Ascott buys 2 overseas properties for $190 million

Somerset Hangzhou Bay Ningbo offers a mix of two and three-bedroom apartments as well as facilities including a gymnasium. PHOTO: THE ASCOTT LIMITED

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - CapitaLand Investment's wholly owned lodging business unit The Ascott Limited has acquired two properties for a total of $190 million through Ascott Serviced Residence Global Fund (ASRGF), its private equity fund with Qatar Investment Authority.

This will bring The Ascott's total funds under management to $9 billion, it said in a statement on Wednesday (March 23). .

The first property, in Ningbo, China, was acquired on a turnkey basis and comprises two residential towers that are due to open as the 206-unit serviced residence Somerset Hangzhou Bay Ningbo in 2025. It will offer a mix of two and three-bedroom apartments as well as facilities including a gymnasium, meeting rooms, a children's area and a residents' lounge.

Located in Ningbo's Hangzhou Bay New Town, the property is also adjacent to the district's advanced manufacturing industrial zone, which The Ascott sees as a driver of corporate demand.

The Ascott currently has 800 units across four other properties in Ningbo, including Ascott Huaishu Road Ningbo and Citadines OCT Harbour Ningbo.

It sees the addition of Somerset Hangzhou Bay Ningbo as an expansion of its footprint in China, where the company has more than 37,000 units in 180 properties across more than 40 cities.

Another property is a freehold asset located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It is due to be refurbished and relaunched as a 93-unit serviced residence known as Citadines Canal Amsterdam in 2023.

The Ascott highlighted this property's strategic location within the city's Canal District as well as proximity to several regional offices of multinational corporations. Given limited upcoming supply in the immediate vicinity, it expects the serviced residence to perform well.

The completed development will be green-certified and offer 93 studios and one-bedroom apartments, along with facilities including a bar, a breakfast room and parking. It also marks The Ascott's second property in the Netherlands after Citadines Sloterdijk Station Amsterdam.

With the latest acquisitions, The Ascott said there will now be a total of 10 properties, with close to 2,000 units, held under ASRGF.

Another property is a freehold asset located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, known as Citadines Canal Amsterdam. PHOTO: THE ASCOTT LIMITED

The fund currently has five operational properties: Ascott Sudirman Jakarta, La Clef Champs-Elysees Paris, Citadines Islington London, lyf Funan Singapore and Quest NewQuay Docklands Melbourne.

According to Mak Hoe Kit, The Ascott's managing director for lodging funds and head of business development & investment asset management, these properties have remained resilient amid Covid-19, supported by their "excellent location and robust base of long-stay corporate guests and a strong domestic leisure travel market".

Two properties under ASRGF's portfolio - lyf Gambetta Paris and Somerset Metropolitan West Hanoi - are currently under development and are expected to open in 2024.

Another property, Citadines Walker North Sydney, is slated to launch in December 2022.

"As we near the full deployment of ASRGF, we are exploring new opportunities to establish more lodging funds. Leveraging Ascott's global presence and experience across different types of lodging assets, we are focused on creating the right fund to meet the needs of our wide network of partners," said Mak.

Shares of CapitaLand Investment ended four cents or 1 per cent higher at $3.89 on Tuesday.

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