Ascott Residence Trust’s (Ascott Reit)
distribution per unit (DPU) increased 5% year-on-year to 2.15
cents in Q4 2018.

Unitholders’ distribution for FY 2018 reach a
record high of S$154.8 million, a 2% increase from FY 2017. This
was on the back of Q4 2018 Unitholders’ distribution rising 6% to
S$46.5 million over Q4 2017.

Gross profit for Q4 2018 increased
3% to S$63.4 million due to higher revenue. Revenue grew 2% to
S$136.5 million. This was mainly contributed by the additional
revenue of S$0.4 million from Ascott Orchard Singapore acquired in
October 2017 and higher revenue of S$2.7 million from existing
properties, partially offset by the decrease in revenue of S$1.1
million from divestments. On a same-store basis, gross profit and
revenue also increased. Ascott Reit’s revenue per available unit (RevPAU)
for Q4 2018 increased 5% year-on-year to S$163.


lyf one-north Singapore, Ascott's first coliving property. Click to enlarge.

Mr Bob Tan,
Ascott Residence Trust Management Limited’s (ARTML) Chairman,
said, “As part of our proactive portfolio reconstitution
strategy, we completed the divestment of two serviced residences
in Shanghai and Xi’an in early 2018. The FY 2018 distribution
included S$6.5 million, part of the net gains from the sale of
these two properties. We also recently announced the sale of Ascott Raffles Place Singapore. These divestments will give Ascott
Reit the financial flexibility to invest in new accretive
opportunities that will enhance our portfolio and returns to
Unitholders.”

In Q4 2018, Ascott Reit’s key markets with strong
operating performance include the United States, China and Japan.
Gross profit for the United States surged 17%2, underpinned by
higher demand and increased revenue from the upgraded apartments
at Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel. In China, excluding the
contribution from Citadines Gaoxin Xi’an and Citadines Biyun
Shanghai that were divested in January 2018, gross profit grew
16%2 as there were more guests on long stay. Similarly, Japan’s
gross profit rose 12% due to stronger corporate and leisure
demand in Tokyo.

Ms Beh Siew Kim, ARTML’s Chief Executive
Officer, said: “Enhancing Unitholders’ returns through proactive
asset management, including refurbishing our properties and
leveraging technology, continues to be our priority. Our
refurbished properties have not only created a better experience
for guests, average daily rates for these properties have also
increased about 10% to 20% due to stronger demand. During the
year, we completed the refurbishments for
Ascott Makati, Citadines
Arnulfpark Munich, Citadines Trocadéro Paris, Somerset Grand Hanoi
and Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel. We are also carrying out
refurbishment works at Somerset Grand Citra Jakarta and Element
New York Times Square West, to be completed this year.”

“While there are mixed views regarding further
interest rate hikes in 2019, any possible increase is not expected
to have any significant impact to Ascott Reit’s total returns. We
maintain a disciplined and prudent approach towards capital
management, with 80% of Ascott Reit’s total borrowings on fixed
interest rates and a well-spread debt maturity where less than 5%
of debt will mature in 2019. Ascott Reit’s gearing stands at a
healthy 36.7%. We will continue to monitor and manage its interest
rate and exchange rate exposure,” Ms Beh added.

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