Starwood Found Guilty

The High Court of Singapore has handed down a guilty verdict against
Starwood Asia Pacific Management Pte Ltd (“Starwood”), a subsidiary of
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc, for breach of a non-circumvention
agreement on a Bangkok hotel with Asia Hotel Investments.

The breach was with regards to an agreement signed between Asia Hotel
Investments and Starwood in connection with Asia Hotel`s proposed purchase
of a majority stake in Grand Pacific Hotel in Bangkok, now known as Westin
Grande Sukhumvit.

Asia Hotel had signed an agreement to purchase the hotel and have it
managed by Starwood. Under the terms of this confidentiality and non
circumvention agreement, Starwood bound itself for a period of 12 months
not to deal with or enter into any management contract with owners of the
The agreement was set to expire on November 9, 2002. However, on May 15,
2002, Starwood circumvented Asia Hotel and signed a management agreement
clearly in breach of its existing agreement with Asia Hotel.

Gary Murray, President of Asia Hotel said: “We are happy that the court
has ruled in favour of Asia Hotel and found Starwood guilty. Taking
Starwood to court was a last resort for us and the first time that we have
been driven to do so with a hotel management partner.”

“In fact, we have an excellent relationship with all our partners which
includes Hilton International and other international operators. We had
hoped to develop similar win-win situations with Starwood that would be
long term and mutually beneficial, ” reports Gary Murray, President of
Asia Hotel. “As a hotel investor we take risks everyday. Our business is
based on having trust and confidence in our potential partners. We had
never expected that it would turn out this way especially with a large
international and public-listed company like Starwood. It has been very
On the award of S$10 by the Court as damages to Asia Hotel, Mr Murray
said: “Seeking damages was not our sole motivation for taking Starwood to
Court. We wanted to prove that Starwood had breached its confidentiality
and non-circumvention agreement with us, and this, we have emphatically
accomplished. Despite the defences put up by Starwood, the Court has found
Starwood to be clearly in breach. We also wanted to send a clear message
that while we are a boutique company in the business of investing in
hotels, resorts and golf course, we will not stand for being taken
advantage of.
“We are disappointed with the amount of damages awarded, and are currently
in discussions with our lawyers on the possibility of an appeal for more


Moving forward, Asia Hotel is focusing its attention on current
developments and to expanding its hotel and resort business beyond
Thailand to include the Philippines and other resort markets in South-east
Asia. Its golf course business has also seen rapid growth and Asia Hotel
expects to begin work on several large real estate leisure development
projects around its Muang Kaew and Sriracha golf clubs soon, according to
Mr Murray.
After a multi-million-dollar renovation in 2002/03, Thai Golfers
Association has now rated Muang Kaew #1 in Bangkok and #2 in all of
Thailand. The Sriracha Golf Club is currently being renovated and will be
positioned as one of the top golf clubs in the Pattaya area. The firm is
also developing a trendy chic New York style hotel in downtown Bangkok
which is expected to open at the end of 2004.

Asia Hotel Investments is in the business of investing in four- and
five-star hotels and golf courses in Southeast Asia. The Company
identifies suitable hotels, secures majority control and puts together a
program to renovate, re-brand, reposition and secure professional
Asia Hotel and its principals have completed hotel development and
investment transactions with Marriott International, Hilton Hotel
Corporation, Hilton International PLC, and Holiday Inn. It owns the Hilton
Hua Hin Resort & Spa which it purchased in 2000, renovated and rebranded
as a five-star hotel. Through its subsidiary Siam Golf Properties Co Ltd,
Asia Hotel also owns and manages the Muang Kaew Golf Club in Bangkok and
Country Club and Sriracha International Golf Club in Pattaya.