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Countrywide Assured (CWA)

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Thursday 18 December, 2003

Countrywide Assured

Proposed Demerger/Sale Update

Countrywide Assured Group PLC
18 December 2003


Not for release or distribution in or into the United States, Canada, Australia
or Japan

PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

18 December 2003

COUNTRYWIDE ASSURED GROUP PLC ('COUNTRYWIDE')

PROPOSED DEMERGER OR SALE OF COUNTRYWIDE'S LIFE ASSURANCE OPERATIONS - UPDATE

On 5 December 2003, the Board of Countrywide announced that it was proposing to
sell or demerge its life assurance operations (the 'Sale') (the 'Demerger') (the
'Life business'). The Board has today decided that it will proceed with the
Demerger and discontinue discussions in relation to the Sale process
immediately.

In reaching this decision, the Board has taken into account the following:

-   the level, conditionality and certainty of the offers received for the Life
    business, which would involve continuing exposure through warranties and
    indemnities

-   the Board's view of the likely trading value of the Life business as a
    separately listed entity

-   the views expressed by Countrywide's shareholders

The Board of Countrywide is continuing to consider the appropriate capital
structure for the continuing Countrywide Group, the UK's market leading
residential estate agency and professional property services business.
Consideration is being given to a number of possibilities including, inter alia,
an extension of Countrywide's share buy-back programme, a review of
Countrywide's dividend policy going forward (including the appropriate level of
dividend cover), and a debt funded one-off return of capital in the order of
£100 million, which is currently the Board's preferred option.

Full details will be sent to shareholders in due course. The expected timetable
is subject to, among other factors, the completion of the audit in respect of
the year ending 31 December 2003, the approval of listing documentation by the
UK Listing Authority and the approval by the Financial Services Authority of the
change of ownership of the Life business. The Demerger will be subject to
approval by Countrywide shareholders and the Court. Completion is expected to
take place in the Spring of 2004.



Enquiries:

Countrywide Assured Group plc                           Tel: 01376 533 700
Christopher Sporborg (mobile: 07836 204 449)
Harry Hill
Michael Nower

Life business                                           Tel: 01772 840 001
Christopher Sporborg (mobile: 07836 204 449)
Graham Kettleborough

Hawkpoint Partners Limited (financial advisers to       Tel: 020 7665 4500
Countrywide and the Life business)                 
David Reid Scott
David Renton
Hugh Elwes

HSBC Bank plc (brokers to Countrywide)                  Tel: 020 7991 8888
John Hannaford
Alex Shorland-Ball

WestLB Panmure Limited (brokers to Countrywide)         Tel: 020 7020 5111
Edward Farmer

Numis Securities Limited (brokers to the                Tel: 020 7776 1500
Life business)                                     
Oliver Hemsley
Simon Law

Cubitt Consulting (PR advisers)                         Tel: 020 7367 5100
Simon Brocklebank-Fowler
Damian Beeley


This announcement does not constitute an offer or invitation to purchase
securities.

Hawkpoint Partners Limited, which is authorised and regulated in the United
Kingdom by the Financial Services Authority, is acting for Countrywide and the
Life business and no one else in connection with the proposed Demerger and will
not be responsible to any other person for providing the protections afforded to
clients of Hawkpoint Partners Limited or for providing advice in relation to the
proposed Demerger.

HSBC Bank plc, which is regulated in the United Kingdom by the Financial
Services Authority, is acting for Countrywide and no one else in connection with
the proposed Demerger and will not be responsible to any other person for
providing the protections afforded to clients of HSBC Bank plc or for providing
advice in relation to the proposed Demerger.

WestLB Panmure Limited, which is regulated in the United Kingdom by the
Financial Services Authority, is acting for Countrywide and no one else in
connection with the proposed Demerger and will not be responsible to any other
person for providing the protections afforded to clients of WestLB Panmure
Limited or for providing advice in relation to the proposed Demerger.

The corporate finance department of Numis Securities Limited, which is regulated
in the United Kingdom by the Financial Services Authority, is acting for the
Life business and no one else in connection with the proposed Demerger and will
not be responsible to any other person for providing the protections afforded to
clients of Numis Securities Limited or for providing advice in relation to the
proposed Demerger.

This announcement, for which the directors of Countrywide are responsible, has
been issued by Countrywide and has been approved solely for the purposes of
Section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 by Hawkpoint Partners
Limited.




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

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