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Benchmark Group PLC (BMK)


Wednesday 02 January, 2002

Benchmark Group PLC


Benchmark Group PLC
2 January 2002

               Benchmark and JER Partners Partnership Acquires

                   100% control of 90 Long Acre, London WC2

Benchmark Group PLC ('Benchmark'), the specialist Central London property
investment and development company, announces that is has formed Benchmark JER
2 Limited Partnership ('BJER 2') with JER Partners ('JER'), an investment
affiliate of the J E Robert Company of Washington D.C., with whom it had
formed a limited partnership in October 2000 called Benchmark JER 1 Limited
Partnership ('BJER 1').

JER has 50.1 per cent and Benchmark has a 49.9 per cent interest in BJER 2 and
Benchmark can increase its interest to 50.0 per cent at any time subject to
consent from BJER 2's lending bank.

BJER 2 has entered into an agreement with Asticus AB ('Asticus') which owns a
50 per cent economic interest in 90 Long Acre ('Property'), the other 50.0 per
cent being owned by BJER 1, for BJER 2 to acquire two leasehold interests in
the Property and to vary the provisions of one of the leases for a payment to
Asticus of £54,346,565. The payment is to be made in two instalments, £
29,346,565 on 15 January 2002 and £25,000,000 on 1 July 2002 financed as to
approximately £12,000,000 by the limited partners and as to the balance out of
a £43,000,000 credit facility from Eurohypo, secured on the interest in the
Property held by BJER 2, without recourse to Benchmark or JER.

BJER 1 and BJER 2 will effectively own 100 per cent of the freehold interest
in the Property, comprising 17,825 m2 (192,000 sq.ft.) of offices producing a
current annual rental income of £5,908,170 with an estimated total annual
rental value of £9,745,000. Benchmark will receive management fees for the
strategic property asset management of the Property.

Commenting on the transaction Mr Nigel J Kempner, Chief Executive of Benchmark

             'This was an excellent opportunity for our joint venture with JER
        to be extended to gain 100 per cent control of 90 Long Acre, the
        premier office building in Covent Garden. We will now have total
        management control of the building so that we can continue to upgrade
        the quality of the accommodation as floors become available. The
        fourth floor of around 22,000 square feet, currently being
        refurbished, will be available to let in March 2002.

             I believe that the West End office market remains in a good
        balance of supply and demand and should see good strength at the end
        of 2002 and during 2003 when we will be able to bring on stream
        further floors of substantially improved office accommodation as it
        becomes available in the building in floor plate sizes of up to 20,000
        sq.ft. The prospective returns from our investment are attractive to
        JER and ourselves.'

For further information please contact:

        Benchmark Group PLC

        N J Kempner (From 7 January 2002) or K C Wong (until 7 January 2002)

        on 020 7287 6881.


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