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Fri, 5 August 2022

Ascott Acquiring Freehold Asset in Tokyo; Will Become City's First lyf Property

(05 August 2022, 12:24 +07)  Ascott is acquiring a freehold asset in Tokyo, Japan via its private equity fund with the Qatar Investment Authority.

The asset will be refurbished to introduce Ascotts first lyf-branded coliving property in the city.

The 140-unit, to be named lyf Ginza Tokyo, is Ascott Serviced Residence Global Funds (ASRGF) fourth acquisition in 2022, deploying close to S$400 million across four countries in under five months.

Slated to open in June 2023, lyf Ginza Tokyo is set to meet the lodging demand of conglomerates and start-ups located nearby and cater to leisure travellers visiting the capital city.

lyf Ginza Tokyo. Click to enlarge.
lyf Ginza Tokyo

With the acquisition of lyf Ginza Tokyo, ASRGF will hold 12 properties with over 2,300 units across 9 countries. ASRGFs properties are in Australia (Melbourne and Sydney), China (Ningbo), France (Paris), Indonesia (Jakarta), Japan (Tokyo), Netherlands (Amsterdam), Singapore, United Kingdom (London) and Vietnam (Hanoi).

The acquisition follows Ascotts signing of over 7,500 units in H1 2022, a 32% increase compared to the same period last year.

The company has also opened 20 properties with more than 4,500 units in H1 2022, a 56% year-on-year increase in units. It also completed its acquisition of Oakwood in July 2022, expanding its portfolio by about 15,000 units to over 153,000 units across over 900 properties.

Kevin Goh, CLIs Chief Executive Officer for Lodging, said, As a vertically-integrated global lodging business, Ascott is able to leverage our full suite of real estate investment and management capabilities for expansion. In addition to increasing our recurring fee income via new management and franchise contracts, we see opportunities to grow our funds under management through our private funds such as ASRGF and our Student Accommodation Development Venture. We will continue to step up our growth as demand for lodging increases with the resumption of international travel.

In addition to lyf Ginza Tokyo, ASRGFs acquisitions this year include lyf Bondi Junction Sydney in June 2022, as well as Somerset Hangzhou Bay Ningbo and Citadines Canal Amsterdam in March 2022.

ASRGF has five operational properties Ascott Sudirman Jakarta, La Clef Champs-lyses Paris, Citadines Islington London, lyf Funan Singapore and Quest NewQuay Docklands Melbourne.

Seven properties are under development. Besides lyf Ginza Tokyo that is scheduled to open in 2023, Somerset Metropolitan West Hanoi, Citadines Canal Amsterdam, Citadines Walker North Sydney, lyf Bondi Junction Sydney and lyf Gambetta Paris, Ascotts first lyf-branded coliving  property in Europe, are slated to open in 2024. Somerset Hangzhou Bay Ningbo is expected to open in 2025.

Mak Hoe Kit, Ascotts Managing Director for Lodging Private Equity Funds and Head of Business Development, said, Extended stay lodging assets such as serviced residences and coliving properties are becoming increasingly attractive as an investment class. Investors have recognised its resilience to withstand economic challenges and flexibility to reap the benefits during an upswing in demand. Partnering with Ascott allows investors to leverage our award winning lodging operations to add more value to their investments. With the addition of lyf Ginza Tokyo, we are close to the full deployment of ASRGF. We seek to establish more lodging funds  and attract like-minded capital partners to tap on Ascotts established investment and operational expertise to grow. Through our strong local teams expertise in deal origination, we continue to  hunt for under-valued and/or under-performing assets which we will then further enhance their performance.

Aside from lyf Ginza Tokyo, 88% of the new units Ascott signed in H1 2022 were on management or franchise contracts, while 12% of the units were investments through Ascotts private funds or its hospitality trust Ascott Residence Trust.

Among the new units added in H1 2022 are four rental housing properties under Ascotts Adoor brand in China. This includes the 1,412-unit Adoor Apartment Shanghai (New Development), Ascotts largest property in China, as it seeks to tap on the increasing demand from young and mobile professionals looking to rent fully-furnished homes on a longer-term basis in China.

Ascott has also signed three Ascott-branded properties and five Somerset-branded properties in China.

The company has also secured 10 Citadines and Citadines Connect-branded properties in Singapore, China, Malaysia, South Korea, Vietnam, Netherlands, Ethiopia, and Turkey; as well as four Quest branded properties in Australia. The properties are slated to open between 2022 and 2026.

Expansion of Ascott Star Rewards

Since its launch in 2019, Ascotts loyalty programme, Ascott Star Rewards (ASR), has seen its membership grow 40% y-o-y and member bookings more than tripled in H1 2022 compared to H1 2021.

With Oakwood's acquisition complete, membership is expected to further increase. ASR members currently contribute about 90% of Ascotts direct bookings online and more than 50% of ASR members are repeat guests.

In March 2022, Ascott upgraded ASR to offer more rewards for members bookings made via its direct channels as well as expanded the programme to include more exclusive benefits.

ASR members can enjoy priority check-ins, birthday discount e-vouchers and look forward to brand specific arrival experiences and welcome amenities or signature gifts that are customised across Ascotts suite of brands.

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