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Ascott International plans to double presence in India by 2015

Posted on by Track2Realty

india realty news, india real estate news, real estate news india, realty news india, india property news, property news india, india news, property news, real estate news, India Property, Ascott Ltd, Track2Realty, Ascott RatthaTargeting the growing corporate sector in India, global serviced-residence owner-operator The Ascott International aims to double its presence by 2015 at an investment of about USD 250 million (Rs.1,250 crore).

The Singapore-headquartered company currently has seven properties (in India), of which two are in operation and the others under construction across various locations.

“We were looking at India for over four years (before having our presence). These seven properties would have about 1,400 units. From our strategy perspective, we want it to take it to 4,000 units by 2015. We are also in discussion with some owners who don’t want to sell the property but they look at professional managers,” Ascott Ltd Chief Investment Officer, Ronald Tay told PTI.

The company manages Ascott Residences, Citadin A’part Hotel and Somerset Serviced Residences. While “Citadin Richmond Hotel” is operational in Bangalore, it recently inaugurated their Somerset Serviced Residence in Chennai.

Tay said they are focusing on a market which attracts huge FDI. “FDI is increasing (in India). I think it is growing steadily. Demand is there in India. Specifically because India and China is where growth (is happening) very fast. When developed markets are growing at four per cent, India and China grow at six per cent”, he added.

Tay said when markets tend to grow at such a rate, a lot of foreign travellers visit the countries and this is where their company sees opportunities (in emerging markets like China and India).

Tay said Ascott has over 15 years of presence in China and currently manages about 7,000 to 8,000 units. It intends to have about 12,000 units in China by 2015.

“In China we have presence in major cities like in Shanghai and are now moving into Tier-II and Tier III cities. We go along with the Corporates. The intention is to replicate same plans across India”, Tay said.

On plans for the Indian market, he said, “We are interested in India just because it is a very big market. We are targeting corporate business. You don’t find us in tourist places like Goa”.

The company’s first investment in India was in 2006, he said.

As part of their global strategy the company also planned to increase it to 40,000 units by 2015. “We are global players. We have 28,000 units now. We have big presence. We want to have 40,000 units by 2015,” he said.

Ascott opening its doors to India

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india realty news, india real estate news, real estate news india, realty news india, india property news, property news india, india news, property news, real estate news, India Property, Ascott Ltd, Track2Realty, Ascott RatthaSingapore-based Ascott Group, which operates serviced residences across the world, is finally opening its doors to India. Of the three brands it owns, Ascott, Citadines and Somerset, two have been introduced in the country in the first phase. Citadines Bangalore and Somerset Chennai recently opened to guests; five more are slated to open by 2015. Ascott plans to invest a total of $250 million on the seven properties.

It has inked a partnership with RMZ Group (Bangalore) and Rattha Group (Chennai) to manage the apartments. It is also open to a management contract model in the future. Given the prohibitive cost of real estate in Mumbai and Delhi, the brand will look at these cities at a later date. The properties will be company owned.

Citadines properties offer studio and one-bedroom apartments, targeted at the single business traveller, whereas the Somerset brand with two- and three-bedroom apartments is targeted at business travellers with families who are looking for comfort and convenience of a home without the hassle of maintaining one.

Like most international hotel chains that operate in India, Ascott is trying to customise its products according to the needs of the Indian customer without diluting the strengths of the brand.

“Given that Indian consumers expect a host of facilities, the Citadines properties in India will have a swimming pool and gymnasium, which is not a feature we offer in other countries,” says Ronald Tay, chief investment officer, The Ascott. Likewise, the Somerset properties are being tweaked to have larger rooms as well as a larger selection in food and beverages.

The company is investing substantially in training and grooming staff. Being long-stay apartments, they will have an average room to staff ratio of 1:0.5 (the average room to staff ratio in the Indian hospitality industry today is 1:1.75).

“This is much lower compared to hotels so our operating costs are lower,” says Tay. Given that India is a price-sensitive market, the lower operating costs, the company hopes, will give it an edge. Analysts say Ascott should brace itself for competition from three-star and boutique hotels.

To build a pool of talent, Ascott will send chosen employees to its training facility in Singapore and will promote inter-country staff placements.

Ascott is entering a space which is fairly nascent in India. Tay estimates there are about 1,500 apartment units operated by international players like Oakwood Residences. Compare this to China, which has close to 7,000 apartment units, and the potential for growth is apparent.

Industry observers feel there is a definite potential for focused service apartments given the issues surrounding renting of homes for short to medium stay. With the rise in corporate traveling and people moving into cities for short assignments, the demand will shoot up, though it will still be centered at the leading business cities.

Ascott to expand footprint in India

Posted on by Track2Realty

india realty news, india real estate news, real estate news india, realty news india, india property news, property news india, india news, property news, real estate news, India Property, Ascott Ltd, Track2Realty, Ascott RatthaAscott, one of the world’s largest serviced residence owner-operator, is expanding its footprint in India in cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Pune, adding to its $250 million investment in seven upcoming properties.

“India is an important market for us. There is a big untapped demand but limited supply of serviced residences,” Ronald Tay, the Chief Investment Officer of the Singapore-based company said in a telephonic interview with a news agency.

“We are looking for investment opportunities, management contracts, or lease agreements to expand our presence in India,” Tay, who oversees Ascott’s business in India, said.

“We are interested in cities like New Delhi, Mumbai and Pune. We are also very keen to explore the National Capital Region (NCR). Gurgaon is also quite interesting,” said the senior executive of the company, a wholly-owned arm of realty major CapitaLand.

Ascott, Tay said, already has 1,400 apartment units at its seven ongoing properties in Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Hyderabad that will cost $250 million when developed. The target is for 4,000 apartment units over the next three-five years.

The company said compared to hotels, its serviced residences offer more space, comfort and privacy with quality services. With separate living, dining and sleeping areas, and a fully-equipped kitchen, serviced residences are homes away from homes.

Ascott has around 22,000 serviced residence units in key cities of Asia Pacific, Europe and the Gulf, and 6,000 under development. It has three brands — Ascott, Citadines and Somerset — and its portfolio spans more than 70 cities across 20 countries.

Speaking about the investment plans over the medium term in India, Tay said a lot of that depended on the availability of opportunities and that the funds required for each property was different.

“On an average, a property with 150-200 units costs around $35 million. To be viable, we require a minimum of 100 apartment units. We would prefer to have a property with at least 200 apartment units for our own investment,” he said.

“If India grows at 7-8 percent per annum, we will see our properties doing well. If the country performs well, foreign investment will come to India. So many foreigners will also come to the country and we will provide them excellent accommodation.”

Ascott’s first property to open in India was Citadines Richmond Bangalore — 96 serviced residences through lease agreement, operating from Aug 1. The second property to open in the country will be Somerset Greenways Chennai scheduled for later this year.

The remaining – Citadines OMR Gateway in Chennai, Citadines Galleria in Bangalore, Citadines Hitec City in Hyderabad, Citadines Parimal Garden in Ahmedabad and Somerset Whitefield in Bangalore — are new projects to open over the next four years.

Tay said the organised service apartment business in India was new with immense scope. “The IT industry is big and the company’s focus.”We want to focus on a few key cities. We want multiple properties in one city and not one property each in multiple cities.”