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Monday, December 12, 2011

Ascott plans to double portfolio in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Singapore-based The Ascott Ltd, the world's largest international serviced residence owner-operator, plans to double its serviced apartment portfolio in Malaysia over the next five years.

Ascott regional general manager for Singapore and Malaysia, Tan Boon Khai said it aims to open one or two properties a year as it is bullish on the market.

"We see Malaysia as a very good market. Although there is economic recession in some countries, Malaysia is holding up," Tan told Business Times.

"There is a lot of foreign investments flowing into Malaysia. This alone will create demand for our properties. The more properties we have, there will be economies of scale," he said.

Ascott aims to own and manage serviced apartments in Sabah and Sarawak, Johor and Penang. It plans to build the properties from scratch, or buy over existing buildings, Tan said.

Currently, Ascott owns and manages Ascott Kuala Lumpur, Somerset Seri Bukit Ceylon and Somerset Ampang. It also manages Marc Service Suites and Tiffani by i-Zen for third parties.

The average occupancy for the five operating properties between January and October 2011 was 62 per cent.

Over the next five years, the group will manage Ascott Sentral Kuala Lumpur (owned by GSB Sentral Sdn Bhd, an associate of MRCB and Gapurna Group); Citadines Uplands Kuching; Citadines D'Pulze Cyberjaya; Somerset Puteri Harbour, (owned by Nusajaya Consolidated Sdn Bhd and a joint venture between United Malayan Land Bhd and UEM Land Bhd); and Somerset Uptown Damansara (owned by See Hoy Chan Sdn Bhd).

"If the owners are keen to sell their serviced apartments, we will consider exploring. The trend is building where people want to stay in serviced apartments during their travel. We will look at all angles to grow," Tan said.

It operates serviced apartments under three brands - Ascott, Citadines and Somerset.

The flagship Ascott-branded properties are premier serviced residences that offer residents discreet service in an exclusive environment.

Citadines serviced residences cater to independent travellers while Somerset serviced residences are designed for business executives who travel with their families.

The Ascott has about 22,000 operating serviced residence units in key cities of Asia Pacific, Europe and the Gulf region.

By Business Times

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