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Thu, 15 October 2015

Trophy Assets Driving Hotel Investment Activity in Asia Pacific in 2015

The number of trophy hotel assets changing hands in Asia Pacific has surged in 2015 to levels unseen before, according to JLLs Hotels & Hospitality Group, which last month successfully closed Asia Pacifics largest ever single hotel transaction, the US$938 million InterContinental Hong Kong.

As at the end of September, there have been six recorded transactions of single assets trading in 2015, each with a value exceeding US$300 million, according to JLL.

Mike Batchelor, Managing Director of Investment Sales, who led the landmark InterContinental transaction, said, Historically we see one to two transactions a year in this mega category due primarily to the ownership profile of trophy hotels across the region, which have often been built and, in many cases, still owned by the original family or a related entity. Assets tend to be passed from one generation to the next and are rarely offered to the market.

Hotel operators have been an exception to the trend and in 2015 have continued to pursue their asset light strategies, capitalising on the demand for trophy properties.

In July, Hilton sold their Sydney hotel under a long term management agreement, similar to InterContinental Hong Kong deal.

The profile of investors historically attracted to such opportunities has almost exclusively been the domain of sovereign wealth funds or high net worth individuals, who tend to hold the assets as part of a wider regional and global diversified property portfolio. In recent times, however, this buyer pool has been widening to now include Chinese insurance companies and private equity firms backed by core funds who are also prepared to trade off the lower returns such investments offer.

The lower returns are offset by the long term growth prospects that high barriers of entry provide to replicating such trophy assets. The landmark properties are almost always located in very hard to replicate triple-A locations in the regions key gateway cities.

JLL, Acquisitions

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