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Benchmark Group PLC (BMK)

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Monday 20 September, 1999

Benchmark Group PLC

Final Results - Part 1

BENCHMARK GROUP PLC
20 September 1999


Part 1                                 
              Year Ended 30 June 1999 Audited Results
                                 

Benchmark  Group PLC ('Benchmark'), the specialist central  London
property investment and development company, announces its Audited
Results for the year ended 30 June 1999.

Financial Highlights

* Net  asset  value per share up 11.1% to 270.5p (1998: 243.4p)  -
  net assets increased to £326.1m (1998: £293.4m)

* Investment  properties revalued as at 30 June 1999  at  £374.9m,
  resulting in an increase of £24.1m - a 6.9% uplift

* Net  rental  income  for  the period  £19.5m  (1998:  £21.5m)  -
  annualised  net rental income (including sales and  acquisitions
  post the period end) now £23.4m

* Pre  tax  profit of £15.1m (1998: £19.7m);  Post tax  profit  of
  £13.2m (1998: £15.4m)

* Earnings  per share of 10.9p (1998: 13.0p) - earnings per  share
  (excluding   profits  on  disposal  of  trading  and  investment
  properties) of 8.2p (1998: 8.8p)

* Final  dividend  of 2.0p recommended - making a  total  dividend
  of 3.75p (1998: 3.5p), an increase of 7.1%

* Net  gearing  as  at  30  June 1999 of 54%  (1998:  57%)  -  net
  borrowings £175.9m (1998: £165.8m)


Property Highlights

* £35.3m  spent  on acquisitions during the year  with  a  further
  £81.5m acquired since the year end

* Stated  objective of disposing of non-core properties  continued
  with  total  sales of £85.9m during the year,  providing  a  net
  profit  of  5% over book value - further £63.0m of  sales  since
  the  year end, providing 5.5% profit over book value at 30  June
  1999

* Rent reviews and new lettings added £4.4m pa to the rent roll

* Principal  residential development, The Panoramic,  now  90%  of
  units  sold with practical completion on target for the  end  of
  September 1999

* Stirling  Square - offices (95,000 sq ft) completed 1  September
  1999 and now being marketed - 9,115 sq ft already let to KKR  at
  £65  per sq ft.  Residential accommodation (15,500 sq ft) to  be
  ready by November 1999

* The Belgravia Estate - transport and environmental proposals  to
  be  implemented shortly, listed building consent application  to
  convert  the  south side of the Halkin Arcade into  a  new  food
  store  has  been submitted - principal terms agreed  to  let  to
  Waitrose  subject to listed building consent being obtained  for
  the conversion

* Nexus  -  two business centres in the City, totalling 53,500  sq
  ft, to be opened in October 1999

* Letting  campaign  commenced  at 33  Glasshouse  Street  and  16
  Grosvenor Street


Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan, Chairman of Benchmark said:  'It is almost
three  years  now since the rebirth of Benchmark Group  PLC  as  a
specialist  Central London property company and we  are  delighted
with the progress made in achieving our then stated objectives. We
have  formed an excellent base from which we can continue to  grow
and  to  increase shareholder value whilst specialising in Central
London.'




For further information, please contact:

Nigel Kempner                         Jeremy Carey or Vikki Hennen
Benchmark Group PLC                       Tavistock Communications
Tel: 0171 287 6881                             Tel:  0171 600 2288


 
 
                       CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT
                                 
                                 
The year ended 30 June 1999 was another active year for the Group.
Despite  some  nervousness  in  autumn  1998  the  Central  London
property market remained strong in all sectors with office rentals
for  modern  space again showing good growth particularly  in  the
West  End.   Residential property prices showed healthy increases,
retail   rents  remained  resilient  and  investment  demand   for
commercial property remained strong.

We   have   concentrated  during  the  year  on   completing   the
construction  of our development programme and on achieving  early
sales  or  lettings where our buildings are sufficiently advanced.
This  has  minimised  the development risk,  particularly  at  The
Panoramic,  our residential development in Pimlico by  the  river,
and  our office and residential development at Stirling Square  in
St James's.

We  have  undertaken an active programme of sales during the  year
and   since  the  year  end.   In  the  current  low  inflationary
environment, we believe that property companies should attempt  to
enhance shareholder value by actively working their portfolios  to
transform  unrealised valuation surpluses into  realised  profits,
and  to acquire new properties to which management and development
skills can be applied to enhance returns in the future.

We  have  been  prepared to participate in corporate transactions,
where   we   can  acquire  properties  in  our  chosen   area   of
specialisation, Central London, and use our skills to improve  the
properties and their return.  Our participation in the acquisition
by Quintain Estates and Development PLC of Chesterfield Properties
PLC demonstrated this.

We  have  set  up  Nexus  Estates PLC as a complementary  serviced
offices company to improve our overall attraction to a wider  base
of  tenants.   This will also provide greater flexibility  to  our
existing  tenant  base as we believe that  it  is  now  even  more
important  to work closely with our tenants, as business partners,
and  seek  to  provide the full range of services and  flexibility
they require.

RESULTS

The  net  asset  value per share at 30 June 1999 was  270.5  pence
compared with 243.4 pence a year earlier, an increase of 11.1%.

Pre-tax  profits for the year reduced to £15.1 million from  £19.7
million  in  the previous year and post-tax profits for  the  year
reduced to £13.2 million from £15.4 million in the previous  year.
Earnings per share were 10.9 pence compared with 13.0 pence in the
previous year.

Normalised earnings per share, excluding profits on sales, reduced
by 7% from 8.8 pence to 8.2 pence.

Net  rental  income for the period reduced from £21.5  million  to £19.5
million  principally  due to an increase  in  irrecoverable
property   costs,  which  include  letting  fees,  together   with
disposals and rent-free periods given to tenants on new lettings.

Taking into account sales and acquisitions since the year end, net
rental income on an annualised basis at the date of this report is
now £23.4 million per annum.

DIVIDENDS

An  interim  dividend of 1.75 pence net per share was paid  on  15
April  1999  and the Board now recommends the payment of  a  final
dividend of 2.0 pence net per share to be paid on 5 November  1999
to   shareholders  on  the  register  at  1  October  1999.   This
represents an increase of 7.1% over last year.

FINANCIAL

In  July  1998  we  successfully completed the  raising  of  £49.1
million net by way of a Placing and Open Offer of 50 million units
of 5.75% Convertible Unsecured Loan Stock (CULS) 2013 at 100 pence
per unit.  This lengthened the Group's average debt maturity.

Our   net   borrowings  at  the  year  end  were  £175.9   million
representing  net gearing of 54%.  This compared with  57%  at  30
June 1998 and 52% at 31 December 1998.

The  Group's net assets at 30 June 1999 were £326 million compared
with  £293 million at 30 June 1998 and our gross assets were  just
over £500 million.

ACQUISITIONS AND DISPOSALS

During  the year we continued to progress our stated objective  of
selling non-core assets.  In addition, we sold those assets  which
we considered had reached optimum values and used the proceeds for
new investments.  Total sales were realised of £85.9 million at  a
net profit of £4.1 million giving a surplus of 5% over book value.
Since  the  year end we have exchanged or completed further  sales
totalling £62.95 million giving a surplus of 5.5% over book value.

In respect of acquisitions, during the year we spent £35.3 million
on  the acquisition of properties in Central London and since  the
year  end  we have spent £81.5 million on further acquisitions  in
Central London but all located in the West End.

Following  the  disposals and acquisitions, at the  date  of  this
statement, we now have a total portfolio of about 690,000 sq ft of
offices;  280,000  sq ft of retail and 40,000  sq  ft  of  leisure
related space.  Some 91% of the portfolio by value is in the  West
End and 40 % by value is freehold.

VALUATIONS

Our  investment  properties were valued at 30  June  1999  by  DTZ
Debenham  Thorpe Chartered Surveyors.  This revaluation  showed  a
net  increase of £24.1 million representing a 6.9% uplift  on  the
investment  properties  (excluding development  properties)  still
held as at the year end.

OPERATIONS

Our  development  programme has progressed well and  according  to
plan  and our development of Stirling Square at 5 Carlton  Gardens
in the heart of St James's is being launched this month to provide
some  95,000  sq ft of prime, modern offices with car parking  and
six residential units on the top two floors.

At   our  principal  residential  development,  The  Panoramic  in
Pimlico,  practical completion of the development will take  place
at  the end of this month and the first residential units will  be
handed over to purchasers early in October.  The progress of sales
and  sales  prices achieved has been most encouraging but  in  the
accounts for the period under review no account has been taken  of
any anticipated profits.

Our  office developments at 33 Glasshouse Street, and 16 Grosvenor
Street   are  ready  for  marketing.   Further  details   of   our
developments are included in the Review of Operations.

On  our  Belgravia  Estate,  we  hope  to  implement  shortly  our
transport  and environmental proposals to produce traffic  calming
measures on Motcomb Street.  We have submitted an application  for
Listed  Building  Consent for our proposals to convert  the  south
side of the Halkin Arcade between Motcomb Street and Halkin Street
into  a  new food store of approximately 20,000 sq ft and we  have
agreed  principal  terms  to let the store  to  Waitrose  Limited,
subject to obtaining Listed Building Consent.  We are making  good
progress  in  our  negotiations  with  the  Grosvenor  Estate   to
renegotiate  the terms of our existing leases in the area  and  to
expand our holdings.

During  the year we completed rent reviews and new lettings  which
added  £4.4  million per annum to the rent roll on  an  annualised
basis  and our total net rental income on an annualised  basis  at
the  date of this report is now £23.4 million per annum.  We  have
further rent reviews, lease renewals and new lettings to negotiate
over  the next twelve months, which will see our net rental income
grow.

CORPORATE

We  reviewed Benchmark's Articles of Association in the  light  of
current  best  practice and, in particular, having regard  to  the
'Combined  Code'  and other applicable corporate governance  codes
and guidelines.  Pursuant to this, Articles 88 and 89 relating  to
retirement  of Directors by rotation, including the  Chairman  and
Chief  Executive,  and  Article  92  relating  to  retirement   of
Directors  on account of age, were amended by the Company  at  the
Extraordinary General Meeting held on 21 April 1999.

It  is almost three years now since the rebirth of Benchmark Group
PLC  as  a specialist Central London property company and  we  are
delighted  with  the progress made in achieving  our  then  stated
objectives.   I  would  like  to thank  my  co-Directors  and  our
executive  team for their valuable contributions.  We have  formed
an  excellent  base  from which we can continue  to  grow  and  to
increase shareholder value whilst specialising in Central London.



Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan
Chairman                                         17 September 1999
                                 
                                 
                                 
                                 
                       REVIEW OF OPERATIONS
                                 
PROPERTY REVIEW

ACQUISITIONS

During  the year, some £35.3 million was spent on acquisitions  of
properties in Central London and since the year end, another £81.5
million has been spent.  The principal transactions were:

* In  December 1998, the long leasehold of 100 Regent  Street,  W1
  was  acquired  from Aquascutum Group plc in a sale  and  partial
  leaseback deal for £12.7 million;

* In  March  1999,  the  freehold of 1 Cornhill,  EC3  a  landmark
  building  overlooking the Bank of England,  Royal  Exchange  and
  Mansion House was acquired for £14.35 million;

* In  June  1999,  the  freehold of 37/38 Curzon  Street,  W1  was
  acquired from Chesterfield Properties PLC for £8.25 million;

* In  August  1999, we completed the acquisition of six properties
  owned  by  subsidiaries  of Chesterfield Properties  PLC  (which
  were  part of the conditional agreement with Quintain Estates  &
  Development PLC announced on 24 May 1999) for £19.51 million;

* In  August  1999,  the freehold interest in a  portfolio  of  13
  properties,  known  as  the Golden Square Estate,  was  acquired
  from Taylor Clark Properties Limited for £22.5 million.

* In  September 1999, the freehold of Buchanan House, 3 St James's
  Square, SW1 was acquired from a pension fund for £38.0 million.

DISPOSALS

During the year, we continued to progress our stated objective  of
disposing of non-core properties and total sales of £85.9  million
were  achieved,  giving  a net profit of £4.1  million  over  book
value.  The principal transactions were:

* In  the  first half (July to December 1998), 11 properties  were
  sold  for  a  total  consideration of £44.4  million  and  these
  included  Hugo  House, Sloane Street, SW1; 15/18 Austin  Friars,
  EC2;  185/187  Brompton  Road, SW3;  8-10  Storey's  Gate,  SW1;
  167/169 Wardour Street, W1 and 16 Curzon Street, W1;

* In  the second half (January to June 1999), six properties  were
  sold  for  a  total  consideration of £41.5  million  and  these
  included  Camden  House in Birmingham; 187a/191  Brompton  Road,
  SW3;  11/12  Buckingham Gate, SW1; 156 Brompton Road,  SW3;  110
  Buckingham Palace Road, SW1 and 17-29 Maddox Street, W1.

* Subsequent to the year end, there were another £63.0 million  of
  disposals and they included: -

* In  August  1999, a portfolio of six properties  to  Shaftesbury
  PLC for £21.5 million;

* In  August 1999, the freehold of Ibex House, Minories,  EC3  for
  £37.9 million.

DEVELOPMENTS

Some   of   the   key   properties  undergoing  refurbishment   or
redevelopment works are as described below:

Stirling Square, Carlton Gardens, St James's, SW1

Works commenced on site in August 1997 with the demolition of Wool
House  and  new  construction  began  in  March  1998.   Practical
completion  of  the  95,000 sq ft of offices  was  achieved  on  1
September 1999, whilst the six residential units totalling  15,500
sq  ft  on the top two floors are expected to be ready by November
1999.   In  March  1999,  we  agreed  to  lease  the  fifth  floor
comprising  9,115 sq ft to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts  &  Co  Limited
(KKR) as their new European headquarters for a term of 20 years at
a rental level of £65 per sq ft.

The Panoramic, Grosvenor Road, Pimlico, SW1

Works  commenced  on  the  site in October  1997  to  convert  the
existing office space to form 90 apartments on 21 floors with  110
car  spaces  and practical completion is targeted for the  end  of
September  1999.  Sales of the apartment units have  exceeded  our
expectation  in  terms of timing and, to date, we  have  exchanged
contracts  for  81  apartments  totalling  £46.8  million,  whilst
another 3 units totalling £1.2 million are under offer.

Ibex House, Minories, EC3

The  freehold  was  acquired  in  July  1997  and  at  that  time,
approximately 42% (80,000 sq ft) of the building was  vacant.   In
October  1997  we  began  a  comprehensive  rolling  refurbishment
programme  to create modern, air-conditioned offices  with  large,
open  plan floor plates.  By December 1998, 140,000 sq ft had been
refurbished,  of which 100,000 sq ft had been pre-let  to  tenants
such  as  Claims  Management Group, Aquascutum and  Holmes  Place.
Since the year end, we have completed the sale of this property to
a UK pension fund for £37.9 million and this generated a profit of
£8.3  million  or  29.6% on historic cost.  This  transaction  has
demonstrated  our  skills  in transforming  a  half-empty,  poorly
configured  property at acquisition into an institutional  quality
property and we are very pleased with the returns achieved.

33 Glasshouse Street, W1

This  is the office element of our long leasehold interest in  100
Regent Street, W1 that we acquired in a sale and partial leaseback
from Aquascutum Group Plc.  Aquascutum will continue to occupy the
basement  to  second floors, totalling some 27,000 sq  ft  as  its
flagship London store whilst moving its head office to another  of
our properties, Ibex House, where it has taken a 10-year lease  on
16,400  sq  ft.  At 33 Glasshouse Street, we have refurbished  the
upper five floors to create 25,500 sq ft of modern air-conditioned
offices with a new entrance on Glasshouse Street.  The works  were
completed  in  September  1999 and the space  is  currently  being
marketed.   This transaction has demonstrated Benchmark's  special
skills  in  working  with owner-occupiers  on  their  occupational
requirements  in order to enable them to release capital  invested
in their properties.

15 & 16 Grosvenor Street and 15/16 Brook's Mews, W1

Number  15  is  one  of  the few freehold interests  on  Grosvenor
Street,  not  owned by the Grosvenor Estate, and is being  rebuilt
behind the existing period facade to offer about 12,000 sq  ft  of
offices  which would be ready by December 1999.  The refurbishment
of  Number  16  is  completed and it offers a  mixture  of  period
accommodation at the front with modern open plan offices totalling
16,000  sq  ft.  The refurbishment of 15/16 Brooks Mews  has  been
completed and only 3,300 sq ft remains to be let.

40/43 Old Bond Street and 3/4 Albermarle Street, W1

This is the joint venture with Thos. Agnew & Sons where we hold  a
25%  stake  in the freehold property.  We have just completed  the
letting  of  the retail unit at 40/41 Old Bond Street  to  Cartier
Ltd.   We  have also let 12,000 sq ft of offices in 3/4 Albermarle
Street  to Gooch Webster.  Planning consent has been received  for
the  creation  of a separate 1,000 sq ft retail unit on  Albemarle
Street.

Belgravia Estate, SW1

On  our  Belgravia  Estate,  we  hope  to  implement  shortly  our
transport  and environmental proposals to produce traffic  calming
measures on Motcomb Street.  We have submitted an application  for
Listed  Building  Consent for our proposals to convert  the  south
side of the Halkin Arcade between Motcomb Street and Halkin Street
into  a  new food store of approximately 20,000 sq ft and we  have
agreed  principal  terms  to let the store  to  Waitrose  Limited,
subject to obtaining Listed Building Consent.  We are making  good
progress  in  our  negotiations  with  the  Grosvenor  Estate   to
renegotiate  the terms of our existing leases in the area  and  to
expand our holdings.

Nexus Estates

In  March  1999, we formed a new subsidiary called  Nexus  Estates
Limited  whose  main  activity will be the operation  of  serviced
business  centres.   This  activity will complement  our  existing
tenant  base by offering flexible leases with added value services
included.   We acquired the freehold of 1 Cornhill, EC3,  a  prime
landmark  building  of around 40,000 sq ft in the  City  core  for
£14.35 million in March and it will be the flagship centre in  the
City for Nexus.  In addition, Nexus has converted 13,500 sq ft  at
148  Leadenhall Street, EC3, where we completed the  refurbishment
early  this  year,  into a business centre  targeted  towards  the
insurance  sector.   The  two centres are  expected  to  be  fully
operational in October 1999.

PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

During  the financial year, new lettings, rent reviews  and  lease
renewals  were  completed to produce an annualised  rent  of  £4.4
million   per   annum.   Following  the  property  disposals   and
acquisitions after the year end, the total net rental income on an
annualised basis is now £23.4 million per annum.

PORTFOLIO BALANCE

The  analysis  takes into account all acquisitions  and  disposals
made  after  the year end but excludes any development  properties
such as Stirling Square.

* Lease profile
  42% of our annual net rental income continues after 10 years.
  
   Lease Profile                          %
   Less than 5 years                   28.0
   5-10 years                          30.4
   11-15 years                         24.8
   More than 15 years                  16.8

* Location
  Approximately  91% by value of our properties are  in  the  West
  End.
  
   Location                               %
   West End                            90.6
   City                                 7.9
   Mid-Town                             1.5
  
*  Use
  67%  of the annual net rental income is derived from offices and
  26%  from  retail use.  The 'other' categories include  leisure,
  restaurant/bar and residential use.
  
   Use                                    %
   Office                              66.7
   Retail                              26.2
   Others                               7.1
  
* Tenure
  Despite  our concentration in the West End where many properties
  are  leasehold,  we  have 58% by value of our  properties  on  a
  freehold basis or on leases exceeding 100 years.

   Tenure                                 %
   Less than 25 years                   0.5
   25-49 years                          5.0
   50-74 years                          9.8
   75-100 years                        26.6
   More than 100 years                 17.7
   Freehold                            40.4

* Tenant Profile
  20%  of our gross annual income comes from major retailers while
  tenants in the financial services sector contribute 15%.
  
   Tenant Profile                         %
   Banks                                  4
   Government                             1
   Oil Companies                          2
   Financial Services                    15
   U.K. Corporates                       13
   Chartered Surveyors                    4
   Major Retailers                       20
   Computer Companies                     4
   Media companies                        6
   Others                                31
  
* Type
  The  breakdown into investment, non-income producing development
  and trading properties is shown as below:
  
   Type                                   %
   Investment                          73.9
   Development                         24.9
   Trading                              1.2
  
MORE TO FOLLOW



FR ABAKKKOKKAAR
                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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