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The Executive Centre Opens its Third Serviced Office Centre at One Pacific Place in Jakarta

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JAKARTA, Indonesia, March 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The Executive Centre, Asia Pacific’s leading premium serviced office provider, is pleased to announce the establishment of its third centre in Jakarta at the most sought-after business address, One Pacific Place.

The Executive Centre – renowned for its premium fit-outs, exceptional client-oriented services, and state-of-the-art infrastructure, has established a strong presence in Jakarta and served a number of multinationals including Metro, Piagio, British Telecom AT&T. The new centre will provide fertile ground for the local and multinational companies expanding and starting up business in Jakarta, which has become a buoyant and emerging market currently experiencing an impressive economic growth fueled by foreign direct investment and improving infrastructure.

Stephen Chatham, Corporate Director – Expansion of The Executive Centre said, “Having established a strong presence in Jakarta with its premium fit-outs, client-oriented services, state-of-the-art infrastructure, The Executive Centre continues to win support from local and overseas businesses. In response to the growing marketing demand for prestigious serviced office space, our new centre with the finest premium Grade-A serviced offices will expand The Executive Centre’s capacity and will be an opportunity for us to diversify our offerings.”

Perfectly positioned at the heart of Sudirman Central Business District, One Pacific Place is Jakarta’s most upscale commercial development. As a manifestation of prestige and competitive edge, the office building upholds the highest standards for an office space. With close proximity to transportation network and direct access to 5-star hotels, shopping malls, major commercial landmarks and leading financial institutions Mall, our new centre allows clients’ businesses to be conveniently connected.

The Executive Centre’s new office is located on level 11 of the grandiose building, with the finest premium Grade-A serviced office space. Featuring an avant-garde interior office design, and fully equipped with the latest IT technology, communications system, meeting and conference facilities and Herman Miller executive modular furniture, The Executive Centre Jakarta continues to provide the most flexible and dynamic solutions for leading business to meet their workplace needs.

The Executive Centre has a network of 50 centres across Asia Pacific, operating 1 million square feet of space. Stephen Chatham continued, “The new centre in Jakarta is an important constituent of the expansion plans of The Executive Centre. Leveraging the continued growing demand for premium serviced office space driven by companies seeking the advantages of flexible workspace solutions, we are confident of the business growth at The Executive Centre in the coming years both in terms of capacity and revenue, and will continue to expand our presence in both our existing and new markets.”

About The Executive Centre

The Executive Centre is Asia’s leading premium serviced office provider with 50 offices in 18 cities. Founded in 1994, it operates in Hong Kong, Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Macau, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Jakarta, Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. The Executive Centre provides serviced offices, virtual office representation services, meeting and conference facilities, and business concierge services to multinational corporations, small and medium enterprises, and start-ups locally, regionally and internationally. Please visit our Web site at http://www.executivecentre.com

CONTACT:

Gigi Liu
Communications Director
The Executive Centre
T: +852-22972483
E: gigi_liu@executivecentre.com

Source: The Executive Centre

Written by asiafreshnews

March 14, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Nespresso Statement on Relationship With George Clooney

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland/PRNewswire/ —
Recent reports regarding the longstanding relationship between George Clooney and Nespresso are unfounded.
(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130313/601237 )
George Clooney continues in his role as Nespresso Brand Ambassador. We are pleased with the relationship that we have built together over the last 7 years.
About Nestle Nespresso SA
Nestle Nespresso SA is the pioneer and reference for highest-quality portioned premium coffee. Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, Nespresso operates in almost 60 countries and has more than 8 000 employees. In 2012, it operated a global retail network of over 300 exclusive boutiques.
Source: Nestle Nespresso SA

Written by asiafreshnews

March 14, 2013 at 11:43 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Bombay Sapphire Gin Appoints Master Distiller

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Nik Fordham to oversee Bombay Sapphire gin portfolio at the Bombay Sapphire distillery at Laverstoke Mill

LONDON, March 13, 2013/PRNewswire/ — BOMBAY SAPPHIRE®, the world’s fastest-growing major gin brand by volume and value[1], is proud to announce that experienced distiller Nik Fordham has been appointed in the position of Master Distiller. Nik will oversee production for the brand and will lead its unique distillation process at the, currently under construction, Bombay Sapphire Distillery in Laverstoke Mill, Hampshire, England, due to open later this year. In addition to crafting the iconic gin and managing its production team, he will be responsible for the quality assurance for Bombay Sapphire gin, meeting the exacting standards of the brand’s well-known flavour profile and consistent quality in each bottle.

To view the Multimedia News Release, please click:
http://www.multivu.com/mnr/58717-bombay-sapphire-appoints-master-distiller

Nik’s role will be key to the production of Bombay Sapphire gin and he will personally oversee all stages, including managing the spirit’s creation through its unique Vapour Infusion distillation process, the preferred method associated with a recipe based on Thomas Dakin’s secret recipe which dates back to 1761. This sophisticated distilling method that once signalled a new era of quality for gin enabled Bombay Sapphire premium gin to showcase the importance of its 10 precious botanicals.

As Master Distiller, Nik Fordham will join Ivano Tonutti, the unique Master of Botanicals for Bombay Sapphire who hand-selects each of the exotic botanicals from locations around the world. Working together, the two will be responsible for producing the tantalizing, smooth and complex taste of Bombay Sapphire gin.

The delicate distillation process of Vapour Infusion differs from the traditional gin distillation methods as rather than boiling the botanicals directly into the spirit, the botanicals are instead held separately from the spirit in perforated copper baskets. When the heated vapours rise, the distinctive flavours of the botanicals are captured by the spirit, resulting in a broader more balanced flavour which gives Bombay Sapphire gin its extraordinary versatility. Even today, Bombay Sapphire gin continues to be made using a Carterhead still purchased by the Dakin family in 1831.

“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity,” said Nik Fordham. “To be involved in the establishment of the Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstoke Mill is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m looking forward to working with the team to ensure that the values of care, skill and imagination that have made Bombay Sapphire gin famous remain at the very core of the distilling process.”

Emma Johansson, Global Marketing Manager at Bombay Sapphire, adds “Nik’s extensive experience and fantastic track record makes him the perfect choice as the Master Distiller for the Bombay Sapphire gin portfolio. With the opening of our distillery Laverstoke Mill later this year, Nik’s appointment is an exciting opportunity for Bombay Sapphire and he will be a valuable part of the team in driving the re-invigoration of the gin category.”

Nik Fordham’s role as Master Distiller will complement and add to the quality of Bombay Sapphire gin, as the brand is sold across 120 worldwide markets. Whilst the overall gin market has remained flat in recent years, the popularity of Bombay Sapphire gin continues to grow year-on-year, nearly tripling in size since it was acquired by Bacardi, the largest privately held spirits company in the world.

About Bombay Sapphire

Bombay Sapphire is the world’s second-ranked gin brand according to value[2]. Based on a secret 1761 recipe, Bombay Sapphire gin is created by perfectly balancing a unique combination of 10 hand-selected exotic botanicals from around the world. The natural flavours of the botanicals are captured through a delicate distillation process called Vapour Infusion which results in the tantalising, smooth and complex taste that is Bombay Sapphire.

Enjoy Bombay Sapphire responsibly. Bombay Sapphire, the Bombay Sapphire bottle design and device are trademarks and/or registered trademarks.

Bombay Sapphire – Infused with imagination

Bombay Sapphire aims to inspire people into expanding their minds, thinking differently to reveal more about themselves and their Imaginations. The team at Bombay Sapphire believes everyone has imagination and therefore aims to give everyone the opportunity to be inspired, and to infuse their imagination with Bombay Sapphire.

[1] Data sourced from International Wine and Spirit Research (IWSR), for the 12 months to the end of December 2011. Major brands are those that feature in the top 5 by volume and value globally.

[1-2] Data sourced from International Wine and Spirit Research (IWSR), for the 12 months to the end of December 2011. Major brands are those that feature in the top 5 by volume and value globally. Full results available on request.

For further information please contact:
Alex Wilson, for Bombay Sapphire
alex.wilson@hkstrategies.com
+44-(0)20-7973-5966 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +44-(0)20-7973-5966 FREE end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Written by asiafreshnews

March 14, 2013 at 11:12 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Boxer “Hawaiian Punch” Viloria Defending His World Titles at Venetian Macao

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Hotel plus event ticket package on sale now for April 6 mega-event at CotaiArena
MACAO /PRNewswire/ — Sports fans can see Filipino-American boxer Brian “Hawaiian Punch” Viloria defend his world championship titles in Macao at a spectacular fight night April 6 at the CotaiArena™, at the beautiful Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel. A special event ticket plus accommodation package presents a unique opportunity to enjoy both the thrilling night of entertainment and the exceptional service and quality of The Venetian® Macao and Sheraton Macao Hotel, Cotai Central.

Sports fans can stay at the luxurious Venetian Macao or Sheraton Macao Hotel while seeing four Filipino fighters, including Brian Viloria (pictured), in action on a brilliant boxing card headlined by the professional debut of China’s golden boxer Zou Shiming, all on April 6 at The Venetian Macao’s CotaiArena, with the two-ticket Zou Shiming “Fists of Gold” Package starting at just HK$2,388 (~PHP 12,500).
Three other Filipino fighters are also part of the nine-bout event — all undefeated: Dave Penalosa, Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr. and Milan Melindo. Legendary two-time world heavyweight champion George Foreman will be ringside, providing commentary for an HBO2 telecast of the event, which is headlined by China’s top boxer — two-time Olympic gold medallist Zou Shiming — who will be making his professional debut with renowned boxing promoter Bob Arum’s Top Rank®.
The Zou Shiming “Fists of Gold” Package starts at just HK$2,388* (~PHP 12,500) for stays on fight night — April 6, 2013 — and comes with the following exclusive advantages:
Two tickets to the Zou Shiming “Fists of Gold” event
Accommodation for two in a Royale Suite at The Venetian Macao, including a choice of breakfast for two at Cafe Deco or Fogo Samba
or
Enjoy a Deluxe room for two at Sheraton Macao Hotel, Cotai Central
The Zou Shiming “Fists of Gold” package is available for purchase in four varieties:
One room at: Two (2) Tickets Package Cost*
Sheraton Macao Hotel, Cotai Central D Reserve HK$2,388 (PHP 12,500)
C Reserve HK$2,588 (PHP 13,500)
The Venetian Macao D Reserve HK$2,988 (PHP 15,500)
C Reserve HK$3,188 (PHP 16,500)
Bookings for the Zou Shiming “Fists of Gold” Package are available now, on a first-come, first-served basis, and are subject to availability. To make a booking, or to get more information, including full terms and conditions, visit http://www.venetianmacao.com/macao-entertainment-packages/zou-shiming/ or http://www.cotaiticketing.com, or call the CotaiTicketing hotline: +853 2882 8818 (Macao) / +852 6333 6660 (Hong Kong).
The April 6 event at the CotaiArena will see World Boxing Association (WBA) / World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight champion Viloria (32-3-0-2, 19 KOs) defending his unified titles against Top-10-contender Juan Francisco Estrada (22-2, 17 KOs), in a 12-round bout. In addition, two-time WBO junior lightweight champion Roman “Rocky” Martinez (26-1-2, 16 KOs) will defend his title against undefeated No. 1 contender Diego Magdaleno (23-0, 9 KOs).
Dave Penalosa (5-0, 3 KOs) will take on Thailand’s Cheroenchai Sithsaithong (4-2, 3 KOs) in a six-round super bantamweight matchup, and Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr. (10-0, 8 KOs) faces Ngaotawan Sithsaithong (10-8-1, 5 KOs), also from Thailand, in an eight-round featherweight battle; and Milan Melindo (28-0, 11 KOs) goes up against Tommy Seran (18-1, 9 KOs) of Indonesia in a 10-round flyweight bout.
The event’s headliner, Zou Shiming, 31, is one of the most popular Olympic athletes in China, is coming off an amateur career as the world’s greatest light flyweight, capturing gold medals in the World Amateur Championships in 2005, 2007 and 2011, along with gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games. He also owns an Olympic bronze medal from the 2004 games, making him his nation’s first Olympic medallist in boxing as well as its first boxing gold medallist in the World Amateur Championships and the Olympics. He signed with Top Rank at a press conference in Beijing in January.
ZOU SHIMING “Fists of Gold” kicks off at 7 pm on April 6 at the CotaiArena; tickets are on sale now and can be booked online at http://www.CotaiTicketing.com, or by phone at +853 2882 8818. Tickets are also available through Hong Kong Ticketing (customer service fee applies) at http://www.HKTicketing.com, or by phone at +852 3128 8288. Tickets are available in six categories: Silver: HKD/MOP 2,680 (~PHP 14,000); A Reserve: 1,080 (~PHP 5,500); B Reserve: 780 (~PHP 4,000); C Reserve: 480 (~PHP 2,500); D Reserve: 280 (~PHP 1,500); and E Reserve: 80 (~PHP 400). Packages with round trip Cotai Water Jet ferry tickets between Hong Kong and Macao are also available: Silver: HKD/MOP 2,768 (~PHP 14,500); A Reserve: 1,168 (~PHP 6,000); B Reserve: 868 (~PHP 4,500); C Reserve: 568 (~PHP 3,000); and D Reserve: 368 (~PHP 2,000). For more information about the event, visit http://www.CotaiTicketing.com.
* All rates are in MOP/HKD and subject to 5% government tax and 10% service charge
Entertainment at Sands China Ltd. Properties
Sands China Ltd. has as a clear vision to establish Macao as Asia’s top entertainment destination.
The 15,000-seat CotaiArena™ is the only venue in Asia ranked in Pollstar’s Top 100 Worldwide Arena Venues based on ticket sales. It is the top entertainment destination in southern China, hosting the world’s and the region’s biggest names in music, sports and awards shows. Superstars frequently choose the venue as the starting point of their Asian tours.
The 1800-seat, multi-purpose Venetian Theatre is one of the most luxurious entertainment venues in greater China. Featuring ushers in black-tie, champagne service, gourmet food and beverage items and other unique, premium amenities, it offers an intimate, luxurious and exclusive venue experience. The Venetian Theatre is playing a key role in bringing the best in international and Chinese entertainment to Macao, with a luxury theatre experience like no other in the region.
The 650-seat Sands Macao Hotel theatre regularly features internationally-renowned singers, performers and artists of the highest calibre. From traditional Chinese-costumed dancers to modern performances, and from singing troupes to contemporary bands, everything from Western rock to Cantonese pop is covered.
With an unbeatable diversity, the entertainment offering of Sands China Ltd. is ushering in a new era of entertainment in Macao.
Media contacts:
Public Relations, Venetian Macau Limited
Andrina Leong
Tel: +853 8118 2010
Email: andrina.leong@venetian.com.mo
Mabel Wu
Tel: +853 8118 2268
Email: mabel.wu@venetian.com.mo
Source: Sands China Ltd.

Written by asiafreshnews

March 14, 2013 at 10:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited Announces Annual Results for the Year Ended 31 December, 2012

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HONG KONG /PRNewswire/ —
HIGHLIGHTS
Key financial results
Turnover increased by 3% to HK$5,178 million (2011: HK$5,009 million)
EBITDA almost flat at HK$1,201 million (2011: HK$1,211 million), despite the partial closures of The Peninsula Hong Kong and The Repulse Bay for renovation.
Net profit attributable to shareholders amounted to HK$1,555 million (2011: HK$2,259 million), inclusive of property revaluation surplus of HK$1,073 million (2011: HK$1,841 million)
Underlying profit attributable to shareholders fell by 5% to HK$439 million (2011: HK$464 million)
Earnings per share and underlying earnings per share of HK$1.04 (2011: HK$1.52) and HK$0.29 (2011: HK$0.31) respectively
Final dividend of 10 HK cents per share, making a total dividend of 14 HK cents per share for 2012 (2011: 14 HK cents per share)
Shareholders’ funds as at 31 December 2012 amounted to HK$33,144 million or HK$22.07 per share (2011: HK$31,455 million or HK$21.11 per share)
The Group’s adjusted net assets as at 31 December 2012 amounted to HK$36,390 million (HK$24.23 per share) (2011: HK$34,703 million at HK$23.29 per share)
Key developments
The Peninsula Hong Kong completed the first phase of its HK$450 million renovation programme and re-opened the Tower’s 135 guestrooms and suites in September 2012, which are equipped with some of the world’s most advanced hotel in-room technology. The second phase of renovation involving the 165 guestrooms and suites in the Original Building commenced in September 2012 and is scheduled to be completed in mid 2013.
In February 2012, The Repulse Bay embarked on a major reconfiguration of the de Ricou serviced apartment tower, which is expected to be completed in mid 2013. There is also an ongoing project to upgrade the public areas of the Complex.
A number of other successful renovations have been undertaken around the Group, including the renovation of the Peninsula Suite in The Peninsula New York, the creation of a junior ballroom at The Peninsula Chicago, the renovation of all guestrooms at The Peninsula Beverly Hills and renovation of the serviced apartments at The Landmark in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Group announced a US$28 million renovation of Quail Lodge & Golf Club’s guestrooms, lobby and golf course. The hotel portion of Quail Lodge will re-open in late March 2013.
The construction of The Peninsula Paris continues to progress, although the budget has had to be increased.
A global advertising campaign, Peninsula Moments, was launched worldwide in September 2012.
2012 was a year of significant investment in the future of our Company through upgrading our rooms product in our flagship hotel, The Peninsula Hong Kong. Not only have we committed capital expenditure of HK$450 million to this rooms renovation project, but 2012 bore the brunt of the consequent disruption in operating earnings from the closure of rooms. With the de Ricou serviced apartments at the Repulse Bay Complex also closed for a significant reconfiguration for 11 months of 2012, our financial objective was to seek to maintain the same level of group operational earnings as was achieved in 2011 through improved performances from the other operations across our three Divisions. This objective was achieved, with our EBITDA of HK$1,201 million being almost flat as compared with last year.
Hotels Division
In general, the hotel markets in which we operate continued to recover from the aftermath of the global financial crisis which started in 2008-2009, although a number of our hotel properties have not recovered their earnings to the pre-crisis level. Specific factors have also affected some of the markets, such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the floods in Thailand in 2011. Markets such as Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok and Chicago have seen an abundance of new five star hotel openings in recent years, giving rise to a highly competitive market environment. In 2012, strong financial performances were recorded by The Peninsula Hong Kong (despite the renovation) and The Peninsula Beverly Hills, whereas the best recovery from the previous year was recorded by The Peninsula Tokyo.
In September 2012, the Peninsula Hotels launched a major new innovative global advertising campaign titled “Peninsula Moments”. The images and videos, shot on location at the nine Peninsula Hotels around the world, showcased the special moments and memories which the Peninsula hotels create for guests.
Hong Kong: The Peninsula Hong Kong began the first phase of its rooms renovation project in January 2012 and successfully completed it in September 2012. The 135 newly designed guestrooms in the Tower were complemented by a new Conference Centre which was converted from a floor of the Office Tower, a new Bar and a rejuvenated and expanded Verandah restaurant. The renovated guestrooms have been extremely well received by guests and the early indications are that the average room rate achieved post renovation will be significantly above the rate pre-renovation. Overall, business continued to improve in both the corporate and leisure segments. The top producing markets for the hotel were Japan, China and the USA. There was also healthy growth from new customer markets including Russia and the Middle East. The food and beverage operations performed strongly, with the renovated and significantly expanded Verandah restaurant being very well received. The Peninsula Arcade remains highly sought after by leading luxury retail brands, with an average occupancy of 99% throughout the year, and both this and the Office Tower, which was fully let, were able to grow their average rent.
Mainland China: The Peninsula Shanghai is now in its third full year of operations and, we believe, is established as the best city hotel in mainland China as well as one of the leading hotels in the world. Despite intense competition from the large supply of new five star hotels in Shanghai, it continued to be the leader in RevPAR in Shanghai.The hotel enjoyed increased demand from domestic travellers and continued to step up its marketing efforts in mainland cities, as well as initiating partnerships with select high-end service providers. The Peninsula Arcade has been occupied by 28 leading luxury retail brands. Meanwhile, the Peninsula Residences, which form part of this complex, commenced leasing activities in 2012. Its premier address on the Bund has appealed to premium residential tenants and over 25% of the 39 units have been leased. The Peninsula Beijing was able to maintain a leading position in the capital despite intense competition from the large supply of other luxury hotels, and was able to achieve improvements in both RevPAR and occupancy. Following the completion of extensive upgrading work for the Peninsula Arcade, the Arcade’s position as a pre-eminent luxury goods shopping venue in Beijing was further strengthened and several leading brands are in the course of expanding their stores, in two cases into triplex spaces. The Arcade continues to provide an important stream of revenue for the hotel.
Asia: The Peninsula Tokyo continued toface the challenge of an economy in recession and a persistently high Yen for most of the year, which impacted tourist arrivals, but business was buoyed by domestic demand. Besides the recovery from the previous year’s earthquake and tsunami, the hotel also enjoyed a rebound due to major international conferences held in Tokyo, such as the World Travel & Tourism Congress in May and the International Monetary Fund-World Bank meeting in October, the latter of which helped to move the hotel’s occupancies and average rates in that month to their highest level since the hotel opened in 2007. The hotel’s wedding business was also robust. The hotel continues to receive many accolades as one of the best hotels in Asia. In Thailand, The Peninsula Bangkok performed better than in 2011, with astronger economy and rebounding from the massive floods in 2011. The new government appears to be more stable, although the political uncertainties of the past few years together with the increased supply of five star hotels, means that our earnings continue to be depressed as compared to the period prior to 2009. In The Philippines, The Peninsula Manila benefitted from a robust economy which boosted private spending, and saw an increase in frequent independent travellers’ business while sustaining strong food and beverage business. The two recently created food and beverage outlets, Escolta and Salon de Ning, performed well.
USA: The Peninsula New York had a stable year,enjoying a good increase in business from some high-end overseas groups andexpanding its business mix by focusing efforts on new sectors including technology, energy and entertainment. The renovation of the Peninsula Suite was completed, marking the full completion of the hotel’s latest guestroom renovation project. In late 2012, the hotel had to face the havoc brought about by Superstorm Sandy, which severely interrupted arrivals, but The Peninsula New York was the one of the few five star hotels in New York City to maintain full service for guests throughout the storm. Plans are proceeding for a major revamp of the food and beverage facilities at the hotel. Business remained relatively weak for The Peninsula Chicago, which is highly dependent on domestic and corporate business, although there was some improvement in the second half of the year. During the year, The Peninsula Chicago renovated its Grand Suite and converted the Avenues restaurant into a junior ballroom, with great success. The hotel also hosted various national leaders and dignitaries who were in Chicago in May for the NATO Summit. In December, the hotel installed a skating rink outside Shanghai Terrace, which quickly became a popular feature in the city. In California, The Peninsula Beverly Hills experienced a remarkable year, achieving the highest revenue, highest average daily rate and the highest number of days with full occupancy in the hotel’s 21-year history. The hotel continued to enjoy strong business from the entertainment industry and the Middle East market. Its guestroom renovation completed in 2011 is proving to be a success.
Overall, the revenue and EBITDA of the Hotels Division for the year were HK$3,885 million and HK$596 million respectively.
Commercial Properties Division
The Commercial Properties Division continues to provide a stable income contribution to the Group’s earnings, counter-balancing the more cyclical nature of hotel earnings.
The most important asset in this Division is the Repulse Bay Complex, whose major revenue is derived from residential lettings. During the year, lettings continued to experience strong demand, in line with Hong Kong’s robust economy. In order to further enhance the yield from this Complex, weembarked on a major reconfiguration of the de Ricou serviced apartment tower within this Complex. The shopping arcade enjoyed high occupancy throughout the year while banquet and wedding business also achieved a record high. A commemorative history book was published in the last quarter of the year to celebrate The Repulse Bay’s rich history and development over the last 92 years. Due to the closure of the de Ricou tower for renovation for 11 months of 2012, the overall revenue of the Complex fell 4% from 2011 to HK$518 million.
The Peak Complex achieved excellent results in 2012 due to its strong positioning in the tourist market. The Peak Tower maintained an average occupancy of 99.6% throughout the year and recorded an increase of 8% in year-on-year revenue, which was also boosted by a higher number of visitors to the rooftop Sky Terrace 428. St. John’s Building enjoyed a high occupancy of 91% throughout the year and revenue was in line with 2011.
At The Landmark in Vietnam, both the office and residential portions maintained high occupancies despite the intense competition in Ho Chi Minh City and a fragile national economy. The Group has been undertaking a renovation of the serviced apartments to maintain a highly competitive position in the city.
Overall, the revenue and EBITDA of the Commercial Properties Division for the year were HK$733 million and HK$474 million respectively.
Clubs and Services Division
The historic Peak Tram has maintained its position as one of Hong Kong’s most popular tourist attractions, welcoming thousands of visits every day from locals, tourists and even Chinese astronauts. In 2012, the patronage of the Peak Tram rose to a record 5.9 million passengers, a 2.4% increase from 2011. Revenue also grew by 6%.
Income from our club management activities rose with strong growth in utilisation of the Cathay Pacific lounges at the Hong Kong International Airport. The Wing, Cathay Pacific’s first and business class lounges, partly re-opened during the year after extensive renovation with an upgrade in design and facilities and an enhanced food and beverage offer. The Thai Country Club saw an increase in the number of golf rounds played as well as an increase in revenue. At Quail Lodge & Golf Club, the annual Quail Motorsports Gathering celebrated its 10th anniversary in August. We announced in the same month that it would be committing US$28 million to renovating all of Quail’s guestrooms, the lobby and golf course, following which the new Quail Lodge will re-open in March 2013. We also appointed a specialist golf management company, KemperSports Management, to manage the golf and Clubhouse operations. In 2012, Peninsula Merchandising once again achieved record sales in Hong Kong and Asia for its signature Mid Autumn Festival mooncakes. We rebranded the range of products and franchised the first Peninsula Boutique in South Korea. In Shanghai, No. 1 Waitanyuan, managed by The Peninsula Shanghai, has gained a fine reputation for its fine food, service and ambiance in the historic setting of the former British Consulate. We havealso leased other premises within the Bund 33 complex for commercial usage.
Overall, the revenue and EBITDA of the Clubs & Services Division for the year were HK$560 million and HK$131 million respectively.
Projects and Developments
The focus of our projects and development activities continues to be on (i) the establishment of a small and select number of new Peninsula hotels in key international gateway cities and (ii) continual enhancement of existing hotels and other properties so as to maximize their long term value.
Since the beginning of 2009, we havebeen engaged in an ambitious project, in partnership with Katara Hospitality, to convert a beautiful historic building on Avenue Kleber in Paris, close to the Arc de Triomphe, to be The Peninsula Paris hotel. This hotel will be our first in Europe and promises to set new standards in terms of design, luxury and comfort. A huge amount of work has been done by our project colleagues working in conjunction with Katara Hospitality and the project team in Paris. The project has now progressed to a stage where all of the main designs have been completed, the core of the building, its infrastructure and internal walls are close to completion and internal fitout is commencing.
However, it has been a challenging and complicated project to convert this historic building into a Peninsula hotel. Since the commencement of the project, the scope of work has been expanded to address necessary additional structural works, historical preservation considerations, unknown site conditions and design improvements to the facilities for customers. These issues have had consequences on timing, scope of consultants’ services and contract costs. As a result, the total construction budget for the project was increased during the year from EUR 295 million to EUR 338 million (excluding contingency). The major part of the construction budget is being financed by a non-recourse project loan of EUR 220 million which has been arranged. HSH owns 20% of the hotel.
Whilst the search for future new Peninsula hotel developments continue, weremain very selective in seeking opportunities in key gateway cities which will meet Peninsula’s full requirements. A lot of time and effort goes into this endeavour and we hope to be able to report further progress in due course.
In the meantime, wecontinue to devote significant efforts to the continual enhancement of existing assets. The second and final phase of the 15 month renovation in The Peninsula Hong Kong will be completed in the middle of 2013, which will return the remaining 165 guestrooms in the Original Building to inventory. The rooms in the Original Building incorporated the latest touch screen technology for ourin-room controls which were developed by our in-house research and development department and are being built on the same design as the renovated guestrooms in the Tower, which as mentioned earlier are already commanding a significantly improved room rate, as compared to before the renovation. At the Repulse Bay Complex, the finalisation of the de Ricou renovation in the middle of 2013 will provide a more efficient mix of unfurnished and serviced apartments to replace the previous serviced apartment-only configuration, which weexpect to increase the rental yield significantly for that asset. In addition, the final phase of ongoing renovation of the public areas in the Complex will further improve the living environment for residents in the entire Complex.
The Group believes that the significant investment in The Peninsula Hong Kong and The Repulse Bay projects will further enhance the value of these key assets and help to maintain their leading positions in the market.
Projects and renovations continue to be undertaken regularly at all properties in order to maximise usage and value of all areas. Other recently completed or ongoing projects include the renovation of the Peninsula Suite and the rejuvenation of the food and beverage facilities at The Peninsula New York, the creation of a junior ballroom at The Peninsula Chicago and the renovation of one of its Grand Suites, the renovation of all guestrooms at The Peninsula Beverly Hills completed during the year, the continual improvement of the retail arcade at The Peninsula Beijing, the renovation and re-opening of Quail Lodge and renovation of the serviced apartments at The Landmark in Ho Chi Minh City.
Financial Results
It continues to be a strength of our Group that our hotels business is balanced by a strong mix of commercial properties, including several successful high-end shopping arcades within our hotels, as well as our well-established commercial, residential and office properties. This comprehensive and diversified portfolio enables us to have balanced earnings over the long term.
Our Group results were impacted by the renovation work in The Peninsula Hong Kong, where 55% of the hotel room inventory was not available during 2012. The results, therefore, reflect a 1% fall in earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to HK$1,201 million in 2012 and a fall of 2% in operating profit to HK$817 million in 2012. The EBITDA margin was 23%. We regard this to be a satisfactory result in the light of the renovation disruptions during the year.
Inclusive of non-operating items, being principally the year-end investment property revaluation surpluses, the net profit attributable to shareholders was HK$1,555 million, as compared to HK$2,259 million in 2011. Our underlying profit attributable to shareholders, which we have calculated by excluding the post-tax effects of the property revaluation surpluses and other non-operating items, amounted to HK$439 million, as compared to HK$464 million in 2011, representing a fall of 5%.
Our financial position remains strong. Our revalued net assets attributable to shareholders increased by 5% to HK$36,390 million, representing HK$24.23 per share, and our gearing remained at a conservative level of 6% at the year-end. Our net cash outflow for the year, after deducting capital expenditure, interest and dividends, amounted to HK$82 million.
Based on our results, the Board has recommended a final dividend payable on 20 May 2013 of 10 HK cents per share. Together with the 2012 interim dividend of 4 HK cents per share paid on 28 September 2012, the total dividend in respect of the 2012 financial year will be 14 HK cents per share.
Corporate Responsibility
In 2012, wecontinued to refine our approach to addressing our environmental, social and ethical responsibilities. Despite the Group’sbusiness growth, ourabsolute energy and water consumption in 2012 have reduced by 5.8% and 6.1% since 2008 when webegan our sustainability programme. We have also become more conscious of our impact on the world’s bio-diversity. In line with our efforts in responsible sourcing, westopped serving shark fin at all ourowned and managed food outlets around the world and launched a commitment to procure all paper products only from responsibly managed forests by 2017. All Group companies have started to implement the policy during the year, with about 35% of paper product being FSC-certified, a 13% increase from the previous year.
We have always believed that the Group’ssustainability journey would be made more focused by regular measurement of our progress. To further strengthen how wegovern the environmental and social impact of our operations, we took an in-depth look at our sustainability management system and process in 2012. We expanded the reporting scope to cover more than 90% of the Group’s businesses and reconsidered the metrics that weshould use to give us greater clarity on our impacts. Some of the new reporting metrics were introduced during the year with the rest scheduled to roll out in 2013. Wealso renewed the discipline of tracking and driving its performance on a quarterly basis and introduced a new planning process of corporate responsibility initiatives in the annual budgetary exercise. The revamped and more robust sustainability management processes underpin our commitment to integrating sustainable practices and principles across ourbusinesses with balance and focus. In the coming years, wewill work on expanding its employee engagement programme so as to bring this commitment to all parts of our business.
Developing a shared direction for sustainable business at the Group will be a focus of our work over the next two years. In 2012, webegan engaging our management team around the world in a forum to assess key macro trends that will affect the Group’s ability to continue to thrive in the long term. It was followed up by a structured process to engage our major stakeholder groups in developing a Sustainability Materiality Matrix. These efforts in building shared understanding both internally and with external stakeholders, supported by the renewed sustainability management processes, have laid a solid foundation for us to explore a new vision of sustainable luxury.
Outlook
The strength of our Group continues to emanate from a genuine commitment to the long term, which provides the vision and willingness to invest in assets for their long term value creation and the staying power to ride through shorter term cycles in the economy without compromising the quality of our products and services. In the volatile economic circumstances that are regularly encountered in today’s environment, this commitment has enabled us to make investment and capital expenditure decisions with a very long term outlook and to maintain ourservice quality and the continuity of its people. With this in mind, we remain optimistic that we are continuing to chart a course which will maximise the quality and value of our assets and deliver long term returns to our shareholders.
Ourcorporate development and investment strategy continues to focus on the enhancement of our existing assets, seeking opportunities to increase their value through new concepts or improved space utilisation, and the development of a small number of the highest quality Peninsula hotels in the most prime locations with the objective of being a long term owner-operator. This is the approach which webelieve has enabled us to establish and sustain a brand which is now recognised as possibly the leading luxury hotel brand in the world, thereby creating value in each Peninsula hotel through both asset value appreciation and operational earnings growth.
For 2013, we are looking forward to bringing the entire room inventory of The Peninsula Hong Kong back into operation following the major renovation programme, which we expect will have a positive impact on earnings. The de Ricou reconfiguration will also be completed in the middle of the year, although with the time needed to build occupancy back, we do not expect to benefit from the full impact of this until the following year. Following discussions with ourjoint venture partner in Shanghai, we have taken the decision to explore a potential sale of up to 49% of the Peninsula Residences within The Peninsula Shanghai Complex.
Other than these specific factors, the general market environment for most of ourhotels remains stable to positive. However, we are watching with concern the territorial dispute between Japan and China which has already caused a reduction of travellers between these two countries. Our operating profit margins continue to be under pressure from rising wage costs and it remains of paramount importance to control costs and increase efficiency in delivering services to customers without any compromise to the quality of the experience of guests.
Hong Kong remains the most important market for our businesses and it is pleasing and important to us that the economy here continues to be strong, providing stable demand for the retail spaces at The Peninsula Hong Kong, The Repulse Bay and the Peak Tower, as well as our residential and commercial lettings. Inward tourism remains on a growth trend, to the benefit of our hotel as well as the Peak Tram and Peak Tower. On a celebratory note, we will be celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Peak Tram and the 85th anniversary of The Peninsula Hong Kong this year.
About The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited (HSH)
Incorporated in 1866 and listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (00045), HSH is the holding company of a Group which is engaged in the ownership, development and management of prestigious hotel, commercial and residential properties in key locations in Asia, the United States and Europe, as well as the provision of transport, club management and other services. The hotel portfolio of the Group comprises The Peninsula Hotels in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, New York, Chicago, Beverly Hills, Tokyo, Bangkok, Manila and Paris (under construction). The property portfolio of the Group includes The Repulse Bay Complex, The Peak Tower and The Peak Tramways, St. John’s Building, The Landmark in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and the Thai Country Club in Bangkok, Thailand.
For further information on this release, please contact:
Irene Lau
Senior Manager, Corporate Affairs
The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited
Tel: (852) 2840 7788
Fax: (852) 2840 7567
Email: irenelau@peninsula.com
Websites: http://www.hshgroup.com, http://www.peninsula.com
Source: The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited

Written by asiafreshnews

March 14, 2013 at 9:42 am

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