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Benchmark Group PLC (BMK)


Wednesday 08 September, 1999

Benchmark Group PLC


8 September 1999

                 ST JAMES'S SQUARE, LONDON SW1

Benchmark  Group  PLC  ('Benchmark'), the  specialist  central
London  property investment and development company, announces
that  it  has  exchanged contracts for  the  purchase  of  the
freehold  interest  in Buchanan House, 3  St  James's  Square,
London  SW1 from Shell Pensions Trust Limited for £38 million.
The  purchase  is  being funded from existing  cash  and  bank
resources and completion is anticipated on 14 September 1999.

The property comprises approximately 4,830 sq m (52,000 sq ft)
of  offices  on  10  floors  with  five  car  parking  spaces,
prominently  located in the north-east corner of  the  Square,
immediately     adjoining    the    new    headquarters     of
telecommunications company, Ericsson.

Buchanan House produces a current annual net rental income  of
£2.48  million and the property is let on an overriding  lease
with  14  years unexpired to Winchester House Property Company
Limited  (with  a surety from United Distillers  and  Vintners
(ER) Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Diageo plc,) with a
rent  review  as at June 1999 currently outstanding  and  with
further three-yearly upwards only rent reviews.  The tenant is
not in occupation and has sub-let to a number of tenants, some
of whom are also not in occupation.

Nigel Kempner, Chief Executive of Benchmark, said:  'This  was
an  off market purchase from Shell Pensions carried out  in  a
short time period.

'There  is  an  excellent  opportunity  to  actively  seek  to
restructure  leases  within  the  building,  while   currently
receiving  a  solid income from a wholly-owned  subsidiary  of
Diageo plc.

'It  immediately replaces the properties we have recently sold
at  Ibex House, London EC3, following its total refurbishment,
for  £37.9  million and 23 St James's Square, London  SW1  for
£3.55 million, with a prime freehold building in a first class
location in the West End let to a single tenant.

'This now give us prime office freehold buildings in three  of
the West End's most sought after squares - Soho Square, Golden
Square and St James's Square.'

For further information, please contact:

Nigel Kempner                         Jeremy Carey / Vikki Hennen
Chief Executive,                      Tavistock Communications
Benchmark Group PLC                   Tel:  0171 600 2288
Tel:  0171 287 6881


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