Information  X 
Enter a valid email address

Benchmark Group PLC (BMK)

  Print   

Thursday 10 July, 2003

Benchmark Group PLC

Property Investment Sales

Benchmark Group PLC
10 July 2003

                                                                    10 July 2003



              Benchmark Concludes £87.8 million of Investment Sales



Benchmark Group PLC ('Benchmark'), the specialist central London investment and
development company, has recently concluded three property investment sales in
central London totalling £87.8 million.



The freehold interest in Landmark House, Hammersmith Bridge Road, W6, owned in a
50/50 joint venture between Benchmark and JER Partners ('BJER'), has been sold
to a private overseas investor for £32 million.  The property is an office
building of 8,340 sq m (90,000 sq ft) and is let in its entirety to Diageo PLC
for a term expiring 24 March 2012 at a passing rent of £2.6 million per annum.



The freehold interest in Buchanan House, 3 St James's Square, SW1, owned by the
WEL Property Limited Partnership which is majority owned by the West End of
London Property Unit Trust ('WELPUT') in which Benchmark has an effective
current interest of 55.3% has been sold to a private property company for £36
million.  The property is an office building of 4,930 sq m (53,000 sq ft) and is
let in its entirety to a wholly owned subsidiary of Diageo Plc for a term
expiring on 23 June 2014 at a passing rent of £2.5 million per annum.



The long leasehold interest, with 166 years unexpired from the Worshipful
Company of Goldsmiths and a ground rent payable to them of £131,447 per annum,
in 158-164 Bishopsgate, EC2 owned 100% by Benchmark Group PLC has been sold to
Warburg-Henderson KAG, a joint venture between Henderson Global Investors and
M.M. Warburg & Co, Hamburg for £19.8 million.  The property is a mixed retail
and office building of 3,815 sq m (41,000 sq ft) let on various leases to
tenants including Tesco plc and Balls Brothers at a total passing rent of £1.3
million per annum.



These sales when combined were achieved at the book value of the properties as
at 31 December 2002.



Following these sales and based on the 31 December 2002 balance sheet figures
Benchmark's pro-forma gearing would be reduced to 75.1% (81.5% at 31 December
2002) and if Benchmark's share of the non-recourse joint venture borrowings was
included, the pro-forma gearing would be 141.3% (159.4% at 31 December 2002).



Nigel Kempner, Chief Executive of Benchmark, said:  'The City sale continues our
policy of reducing exposure to the City market.  The sales together show that
there is still strong investor interest for central London investments and help
us to reduce the level of our borrowings on and off balance sheet.'



For further information:


Benchmark Group PLC                                  Tavistock Communications
Nigel Kempner                                        Jeremy Carey/Molly Dover
Tel:  020 7659 0500                                  Tel:  020 7600 2288

                                                     [email protected]




                      This information is provided by RNS
            The company news service from the London Stock Exchange                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

a d v e r t i s e m e n t