Axe Management Partners Completes Purchase of Three Osaka Hotels from CapitaLand Ascott Trust

Acquisition and repositioning of hotel properties, bringing in new design and branding concepts targeting untapped customer groups, to maximize asset value and return on investment
Launch platform for Garner’s expansion in Japan and Asia-Pacific, focusing on rapidly growing midscale traveler segment looking for high-quality well-priced accommodation in prime locations
TOKYO, JAPAN –
Media OutReach Newswire – 18 March 2024 – Axe Management Partners (“Axe Management”), a Pan-Asia real estate investment firm, today announced the completion of the acquisition of three hotel properties from CapitaLand Ascott Trust (“CLAS”) for JPY10.7 billion (approx. US$75 million).

Abhijay Sandilya (Managing Director – Japan & Micronesia, IHG), Sam Lau (Founder and Managing Partner, Axe Management), Elie Maalouf (CEO, IHG), Gary Kwok (Founder and CEO, Axe Management), Kenneth Macpherson (CEO – Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa, IHG).

Axe Management and IHG Hotels & Resorts (“IHG”) will work closely to launch the new Garner hotel brand outside of North America, including establishing design and branding concepts as well as refurbishment work. With targeted sales, marketing and operational strategies, the partners plan to provide differentiated, enhanced guest experiences, creating unique long-lasting impressions of the hotels. Targeting to open in Q4 2024, each of the three hotels will have its own design character with convenient amenities, offering guests a comfortable stay and the go-to option in the premium midscale segment.
The three hotel properties, currently known as WBF Honmachi, WBF Kitasemba East and WBF Kitasemba West, have a total of over 500 rooms and GFA of approximately 10,000 sqm. They are centrally located in the prime district of Honmachi Osaka with close proximity to Osaka Metro stations, and within walking distance to commercial districts and the renowned Shinsaibashi tourism area. The two largest terminal stations of Namba and Umeda are within two stops on the Midosuji line, with the Shin-Osaka Shinkansen station only five stops away. Future World Expo 2025, Japan’s first integrated resort and casino, and Universal Studios are approximately 25 minutes away by train.

From left to right, WBF Honmachi, WBF Kitasemba East and WBF Kitasemba West

Gary Kwok, Founder and CEO of Axe Management, said: “We are very excited about the acquisition of this exceptional hotel portfolio with immense value-add potential. With flexibility in repositioning strategies, we will further invest capex and utilize our development and operational capabilities to transform these assets, creating a product that goes beyond expectations, driving performance and unlocking their true potential.”
Sam Lau, Founder and Managing Partner, Axe Management, said: “We foresee attractive opportunities to emerge in selected regions across Japan and Asia in the coming months. Japan has had strong momentum and we expect this will continue in the foreseeable future. This investment underscores our commitment to Japan, where we plan to deploy more capital and make further acquisitions in the near future.”
Due to their excellent location with proximity within a key CBD and tourist areas, the hotels are primed to capture both business and leisure demand from domestic and international visitors alike. According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, the number of inbound tourists in Q4 2023 has surpassed that of pre-pandemic levels, despite travel by Chinese tourists remaining more than 60% below the same period in 2019, where they were the largest inbound visitor group. Continued steady increase in demand is expected in 2024 and 2025 supporting future demand growth. Additionally, CBRE and STR show both ADR and RevPAR[1] have surpassed 2019 levels demonstrating strong industry momentum. These key factors amongst others propelled record investment volumes into the Japanese hospitality sector in 2023, from both domestic and international investors.

[1] “Average Daily Rate” and “Revenue Per Available Room”, which are both standard metrics for hotel performance

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