The Ascott has stepped up its global expansion as it breaks into South America with franchise agreements for two serviced residences in São Paulo, Brazil.
Vitacon, a leading real estate company in São Paulo, will franchise and operate the 92-unit Citadines VN Jardins São Paulo and 122-unit Citadines VN Faria Lima São Paulo.
The two serviced residences are scheduled to open in the last quarter of this year and 2020 respectively.
Ascott and Vitacon have also signed an agreement with an intent to establish a portfolio of at least 5,000 Citadines-branded units in São Paulo.
Lee Chee Koon, Ascott chief executive, said: “Ascott’s entry into South America through franchise is a significant move to expand our global network of properties, and in turn increase our fee income.
“We see strong potential to scale up Ascott’s presence in Brazil given its status as the powerhouse of South America, accounting for close to half of the region’s foreign direct investments.
“Brazil’s FDI hit a record high in December last year, reaching US$15.4 billion.
“This signifies great opportunities for serviced residences as the region continues to attract corporations and business travellers.
“Anchoring ourselves in Brazil’s largest city, we will seek to expand our footprint to other major cities including the capital of Brasília, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte.
“We will also explore opportunities in new markets such as Argentina, Chile and Mexico. In the next five years, Ascott aims to achieve 10,000 units in South America.”
Lee added: “Our strategic partnership with Vitacon provides further impetus for Ascott to expand, given their sizable landbank in prime locations across São Paulo, home to many of Brazil’s largest multinational corporations and the region’s financial hub.
“There is also a lack of quality accommodation to cater to the needs of expatriates and business travellers.
“Franchise, investments, management contracts and strategic alliances will continue to be key strategies to boost Ascott’s lead as we march towards our target of 80,000 units globally by 2020.”
Headquartered in Brazil, Vitacon has launched 40 residential and commercial projects delivering an estimated US$1 billion in sales, of which 25 projects have been completed.
Vitacon also manages about 1,200 furnished apartment units for lease in São Paulo, providing concierge, laundry and housekeeping services.