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Benchmark Group PLC (BMK)


Wednesday 30 April, 2003

Benchmark Group PLC


Benchmark Group PLC
30 April 2003

For immediate release - 30 April 2003


Benchmark Group PLC announces that it is seeking authority to implement a
buy-back programme for up to 6,680,000 of its own shares (just under 7 per cent.
of issued share capital) by way of market purchases and a waiver of any
resulting obligations under the City Code for its two largest shareholders,
Friends Provident plc and GuocoLand Limited, to make a general offer for the
shares not owned by them.

A circular is being posted to shareholders today convening an Extraordinary
General Meeting to be held on Friday, 23 May 2003 to seek the necessary
approvals from shareholders.

The maximum potential shareholdings of Friends Provident and GuocoLand if the
proposed buy-back were carried out in full but neither Friends Provident nor
GuocoLand sold any of their existing holdings are set out below:

                           (1)                                    (2)

                           Percentage of current issued share     Maximum percentage of issued share
                           capital                                capital assuming full utilisation of
                                                                  buy-back authority

Friends Provident          34.70                                  37.26
GuocoLand                  34.54                                  37.08

Any purchases under the buy-back programme would not prejudice the maintenance
of the Company's listing, as a minimum of 25 per cent. of the shares in issue
would remain in public hands.

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
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