YTL REIT buys Japanese ski resort for RM222.5m

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 14): YTL Hospitality REIT's (YTL REIT) unit Starhill REIT Niseko G.K. (Starhill Niseko) is buying a ski resort in Japan for RM222.5 million cash.

Starhill Niseko is acquiring the property in Hokkaido, Japan, from Niseko Village K.K. as part of its strategy to invest in high quality hospitality properties.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia today, YTL REIT said the property comprises freehold lands in Aza-Higashiyama, Niseko-cho, Abuta-gun, measuring approximately 10,728 square metres, and hotel buildings known as "The Green Leaf Niseko Village".

It said Starhill will lease the property to Niseko Village for 30 years with an option to renew for a further term of 30 years.

It said the lease arrangement will provide YTL REIT with a steady and secure income stream.

On the prospects of the property, YTL REIT said the Niseko resort area attracts numerous international skiers.

It said the total number of nights stayed in Niseko-cho has dramatically increased over the past 14 years.

"Continued growth in international visitors will have a positive impact on the occupancy rate of the property, because, at present, approximately 70% (winter) and 50% (summer) of the property's visitors come from overseas.

"As more and more international tourists are expected to visit Niseko-cho, large developments are accordingly planned in the near future. Therefore, it is expected that the subject area will maintain its reputation as a premiere resort area in Japan," it said.

At the midday break today, YTL REIT was flat at RM1.21 with 221,700 units traded.