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Benchmark Group PLC (BMK)

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Friday 05 November, 1999

Benchmark Group PLC

Properties in Kensington Sold to Joint Venture

Benchmark Group PLC
5 November 1999


                               
                               
    BENCHMARK SELLS KENSINGTON PROPERTIES TO JOINT VENTURE
                        FOR £83 MILLION
                                               
Benchmark  Group  PLC  ('Benchmark'), the  specialist  central
London  property investment and development company, announces
that  it  has  sold  its  long leasehold  interest  in  99/121
Kensington High Street and 1 Derry Street, and the freehold of
25  Kensington Square, London, W8 (the 'Properties') to a  new
company,  which  it  will jointly own with  Deutsche  Bank  AG
('Deutsche Bank').

The Properties have been sold for £83.0 million to 121 KHS Ltd
('Newco') in which Benchmark has a 50.1% interest and Deutsche
Bank  49.9%.   Both Benchmark and Deutsche Bank have  provided
Newco  with  mezzanine  loans of £13.5 million  each  for  the
acquisition.   Newco has also obtained an  8-year  loan  (non-
recourse to Benchmark) of £56.5 million from Eurohypo AG,  the
mortgage lending arm of Deutsche Bank, for the balance of  the
purchase price and purchase costs.

The  Properties comprise over 400,000 sq ft (37,170 sq  m)  of
commercial  space  on a total site area of approximately  2.34
acres with a retail frontage of 255 feet (78m) onto Kensington
High  Street, providing a total net current rental  income  of
£5.9  million per annum.  The retail tenants include  Marks  &
Spencer  Plc,  119,000  sq ft (11,000  sq  m)  and  Storehouse
Properties Limited, 110,000 sq ft (10,220 sq m).  The  offices
of  approximately 170,000 sq ft (15,800 sq m) are let to  Visa
International  Services  Limited and  International  Computers
Limited.   There  is  also  a roof garden,  club  and  leisure
facility  of  6,500  sq  ft (600 sq m)  let  to  Virgin  Clubs
Limited, part of the Virgin Group.

The  leasehold properties are held on an unexpired term of  82
years  from  The  Crown Estate, with a rental payable  to  The
Crown Estate of £50,000 per annum without review in respect of
99/121  Kensington  High  Street and  £142,500  per  annum  in
respect of 1 Derry Street, reviewable in 2004 to 15% of rental
value and then five-yearly.

Benchmark  has undertaken this transaction in order to  reduce
its  exposure to an asset, which represented about 15% of  its
gross  assets  as  at  30  June  1999,  whilst  retaining  the
continuing  management and control of  the  property  and  its
opportunities  to  enhance  income  and  capital  value.   The
current proforma gearing of Benchmark, based on the net  asset
value  as  at  30 June 1999 and taking account  of  subsequent
disposals and acquisitions, is 59.5%.

Nigel Kempner, Chief Executive of Benchmark said:  'This is an
excellent arrangement to reduce our exposure to this  property
while  maintaining  a significant interest  in  the  potential
upside - which can be achieved by continued active management.
The   sale  achieves  our  stated  objective  of  transforming
unrealised   valuation  surplus  into  realised  profit,   and
recognises  a small surplus above the 30 June 1999 book  value
for the sale.'

Neil  Lawson-May,  Managing Director, Real  Estate  Investment
Banking  at  Deutsche  Bank  AG said:  'This  is  an  exciting
partnership  for  us  with  a well proven  specialist  central
London  property  team.   It expands  our  European  mezzanine
business with an interest in a major strategic property and we
look forward to being able to work with the Benchmark team  to
seek to increase income and value from our holding.'


For further information, please contact:

Benchmark Group PLC                Deutsche Bank AG
Nigel Kempner /  KC Wong           Neil Lawson-May / Paul Rivlin
Chief Executive / Managing         Managing Directors
Director (Finance)                 Real Estate Investment Banking
Tel:  020 7287 6881                Tel:  020 7545 7803 / 5793

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

                                                              
                                                              
                                                              


                                  

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