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Benchmark Group PLC (BMK)

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Monday 12 June, 2000

Benchmark Group PLC

Acquisition

Benchmark Group PLC
12 June 2000

                            
              BENCHMARK MAKES £37.5 MILLION
              ACQUISITION ON CHEAPSIDE, EC2
                            
                            
                            
Benchmark Group PLC ('Benchmark'), the specialist central
London investment and development company, announces that
it  has  acquired the long leasehold interests  in  Mitre
House,  120 Cheapside, London EC2 and Compter House,  4-9
Wood  Street, London EC2 from Hammerson plc ('Hammerson')
for  £37.5  million.  The purchase has been  funded  from
existing cash and bank resources.

The  properties  are held on a headlease  from  The  City
Parochial  Foundation ('CPF') for a term expiring  on  24
March  2165,  at  a  rent of 10.85%  of  the  net  income
received  from under-tenants. This is currently  £356,154
p.a.

Mitre House comprises approximately 7,711 sq m (83,000 sq
ft) of retail and office accommodation on lower basement,
basement,  ground  and eight upper  floors  with  50  car
spaces.  Compter House comprises approximately 1,858 sq m
(20,000  sq  ft)  of retail and office  accommodation  on
basement,  ground and eight upper floors.  Both buildings
were  constructed  in  the 1960s  with  a  frontage  onto
Cheapside  of  approximately 100 ft and an  overall  site
area of just over 0.5 acre.

Mitre  House is let to J. Henry Schroder & Co. on a lease
expiring  December 2010, at a current rent of  £3,100,000
p.a. with upwards only rent reviews in 2000 and 2005.

Compter   House   is   currently  multi-let   on   leases
incorporating mutual break clauses to four tenants  at  a
total rent of £191,750 p.a.

The  location  is in the traditional core  of  the  City,
linking  Bank  to St Paul's Cathedral,  and  is  a  major
retail  thoroughfare whilst being close to several  major
new  office developments such as Paternoster Square, EC2,
the  new  proposed  headquarters  for  Merrill  Lynch  on
Newgate Street, EC1, and the proposed development by Land
Securities at 30 Gresham Street, EC2.

Nigel  Kempner, Chief Executive of Benchmark, said  'This
was  an  opportunity to make an off-market purchase  from
Hammerson  in  a  short time period.   We  have  acquired
buildings in an excellent location, let to Schroders,  in
an  area  where  a lot of redevelopment is being  carried
out.

We  have  a  secure income for another ten  years  at  an
attractive net initial yield of over 7.5% and  there  may
be development opportunities on the site in the future.

We  have  recently sold over £26 million of West End  and
City  properties  in  smaller  lot  sizes  and  this  has
provided an opportunity to acquire a property in a  first
class City location when City rents are beginning to show
signs  of  growth and provides a useful  balance  to  our
concentrated West End portfolio.'

John  Richards, Chief Executive of Hammerson  plc,  said:
'This  sale,  at  an  attractive  price,  enables  us  to
concentrate on our major City development programme.   We
currently   have  two  major  City  office   developments
underway at 280 Bishopsgate and 16 Old Bailey, the latter
which is pre-let.  We also have a further opportunity  at
1 London Wall, a joint venture with Kajima.'

For further information, please contact:

Benchmark Group PLC
Nigel J Kempner
Chief Executive
Tel: 020 7287 6881

Hammerson plc
John Richards
Chief Executive
Tel: 020 7887 1000

Tavistock Communications
Jeremy Carey or Karen Roberts
Tel: 020 7600 2288



                                                                                
                                                                                
                                                                      

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