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Ascott acquires freehold serviced residence in Sydney for S$192m

Citadines Walker North Sydney is part of a 48-storey integrated development comprising office and retail components.

THE Ascott Limited (Ascott) on Thursday said it has acquired a freehold serviced residence in the central business district of North Sydney for a sum of S$192 million through the Ascott Serviced Residence Global Fund, its global fund with Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). 

The acquisition is part of Ascott's strategy to grow its fund management portfolio through private equity funds, joint ventures and listed hospitality trusts, said Kevin Goh, Ascott's chief executive officer in a press statement.

To be named Citadines Walker North Sydney, the serviced residence is part of a 48-storey development comprising office and retail spaces. It will offer 252 apartments and facilities and is set to open in 2021. 

Ascott also announced the signing of 13 other properties under franchise and management contracts across China, France, Indonesia, Kenya and Vietnam, bringing its asset value to S$10 billion.

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Mr Goh said that the scale of the business and fund management is central to the active capital management strategy of Ascott as a  lodging real estate player.

Ascott has more than 66,000 operating units and close to 46,000 units under development, making a total of more than 112,000 units in over 700 properties. It has secured a total of 10,600 units this year - double the number of units signed organically for the same period last year.   

"We will continue to boost our fee income through growing our assets under management and lodging management business," Mr Goh said. 

Of the 14 properties, four are franchise agreements signed with Aegide Domitys, France's provider of serviced accommodation for independent seniors. These properties expand Ascott's footprint into three new cities in France - Golfe-Juan, Tours and Roanne and are slated to open from 2020 to 2023.

The nine new management contracts include two Citadines-branded properties secured under Ascott's strategic alliance with Nasdaq-listed Huazhu Hotels Group (Huazhu) and Huazhu's subsidiary CJIA Apartments Group. Ascott has also secured its first Yello-branded hotel in Vietnam, a brand under Tauzia Hotels Management, in which it has a majority stake.

"Ascott enjoys deep presence in many key gateway cities, across various lodging segments, from serviced residences, hotels, co-living apartments to leasing apartments. This provides a ready pipeline of assets like Citadines Walker North Sydney for capital deployment," said Mr Goh.