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Cheong Sim Lam buys Ascott Raffles Place Singapore for S$353.3 million

Ascott Raffles Place, which was just sold to private investor Cheong Sim Lam for S$353.3 million.

PRIVATE investor Cheong Sim Lam, whose family developed International Plaza and the Hyatt Regency Singapore, has acquired Ascott Reit's Ascott Raffles Place Singapore for S$353.3 million.

The 20-storey conserved building with 146 serviced apartments is located at 2 Finlayson Green, and has a 999-year lease.

Mr Cheong developed several residential projects such as Robinson Suites on Robinson Road, and previously owned 137 and 139 Cecil Street.

The sale price is some 64.3 per cent above the property’s latest valuation of S$215 million as at Dec 31, 2018. After accounting for transaction related expenses, Ascott Reit is expected to realise an estimated net gain of S$134 million.

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The net sale proceeds may be used to pare down the debts of Ascott Reit, fund potential acquisitions and/or for other general corporate purposes, the company said in a Singapore Exchange announcement on Wednesday after market close.

Ascott Raffles Place accounts for 3 per cent of Ascott Reit’s gross profit for the nine months ended Sept 30, 2018. Its sale is not expected to have a material impact on Ascott Reit’s financial performance.

Beh Siew Kim, chief executive officer of Ascott Reit's manager, said in a statement: "The sale will give us the financial flexibility to recycle capital and invest in higher-yielding properties. We may also use the sale proceeds to pay down debt which will then increase our debt headroom for potential acquisitions of quality assets or to develop our own properties such as lyf one-north Singapore to enhance Ascott Reit’s portfolio."

The sale was brokered by Cushman & Wakefield.