Ascott launches $600 million JV with Qatar Investment Authority

George Sell By George Sell
13 July 2015 | Updated 13 July 2015

Singapore: The Ascott Limited (Ascott), has entered into a 50:50 joint venture with Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) to set up a US$600 million serviced residence fund.

The partnership represents Ascott's largest private equity fund to date. Ascott and QIA will each contribute US$300 million of equity funds to the joint venture which will have an initial focus on the Asia Pacific and Europe regions.

The fund will invest in serviced residences or rental housing properties with an initial focus on the Asia Pacific and Europe regions, for a term of 10 years with an investment period of three years. It will invest in development, redevelopment and turnkey opportunities, as well as acquire suitable projects for asset enhancement, repositioning or conversion into serviced residences and rental housing properties. Subject to pre-existing contractual obligations that Ascott has, the fund will have exclusive rights over deals that are available to Ascott during the fund's investment period. The joint venture will also grant Ascott a first right to manage the properties that it acquires.

Lee Chee Koon, Ascott's CEO, said: "Ascott is adopting a co-investment approach in this 50:50 strategic partnership with QIA, as a testament of our strong alignment of interest with our capital partners. As Ascott steps up on investments to expand our presence globally, this serviced residence fund will provide the financial backing to support our acquisitions and accelerate Ascott's growth to achieve our target of 80,000 apartment units globally by 2020. We will also be able to increase our fee-based income as Ascott has the first right to manage the properties that the fund acquires. We look forward to the many attractive opportunities ahead to put this capital to good work as we build a long-term partnership with QIA."

Lim Ming Yan, president & group CEO of CapitaLand Limited, Ascott's parent company, said: "Real estate is a capital intensive business and fund management is central to the active capital management strategy of CapitaLand as a dominant real estate player. This tie-up with QIA is a good example of how we are proactively working with strong capital partners to build up scale. With Ascott's newly set up global serviced residence fund, CapitaLand now manages 17 real estate private equity funds and five real estate investment trusts (REITs) with AUM worth over S$43 billion. This Ascott global serviced residence fund brings us a step closer towards our goal of raising five to six funds with total AUM of S$8-10 billion by 2020."

Lim added: "As real estate capital values rise with the growing intensity of competition for assets, CapitaLand's deep presence in many key gateway cities , our strong fund management expertise across various asset classes, from integrated developments, residential, shopping malls to serviced residences as well as our established developer- owner-operator capabilities, will allow us to deliver better risk-adjusted returns for investors. CapitaLand's strong balance sheet and stable of REITs also give us the ability to stay invested for the long term in assets with longer gestation periods. This, together with our ability to co-invest with our capital partners, aligns us with capital partners with longer investment horizon such as sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and insurance companies."

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