Benchmark sells London City properties

Benchmark Group, the specialist central London investment and development company, has further reduced its exposure to the City of London with the sale of its interest in three City properties for almost £45m.

Benchmark has sold the leasehold interest in Mitre House, Cheapside, EC, and Compter House, Wood Street, EC, to Land Securities Group for £35.8m and the freehold interest in New Chapter House, Bishopsgate, EC, to clients of ING Real Estate for £8.6m.

Nigel Kempner, chief executive, said the disposals were 'part of our policy of reducing gearing and concentrating again on just the West End market where we are beginning to see greater potential'.

The sales have left Benchmark with a £6.7m loss based on the December 31 2002 book cost and a loss on historic cost of £5.9m. A £4.7m loss in respect of post year-end sales will be reflected as an exceptional item in the year to June 30 2003.

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