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Great Portland Ests. (GPOR)

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Thursday 06 July, 2006

Great Portland Ests.

AGM Statement

Great Portland Estates PLC
06 July 2006


6 July 2006

AGM Statement

Richard Peskin, Chairman of Great Portland Estates plc, will make the following
comments at today's AGM, to be held at Le Meridien, 21 Piccadilly, London, W1.

'2006 was a strong year for Great Portland Estates with returns at both the
property and shareholder level well ahead of our principal benchmarks. Following
£83 million of disposals since the year end, 80% of the portfolio is located in
the West End, and, as we have previously forecast, this market is increasingly
characterised by a shortage of good quality space to let. With take up levels
running ahead of the long term average and limited new supply coming on stream,
we expect vacancy rates to continue falling from their current low level of 7%.
As a result, West End rents, particularly outside the most expensive areas of
Mayfair, are set to continue their recent run of strong growth.

In the City, rental growth returned during the year for the best quality
buildings and we expect rents to rise further in the near-term. However, with a
significant and growing development pipeline emerging in this market, we remain
more cautious on its medium-term prospects as compared to the West End.

In the context of these encouraging market circumstances, our growing
development business appears well placed with 8 of our 9 near-term projects in
the West End. At Tooley Street, SE1 we recently forward-sold our development,
crystallising more than our original forecast profit and at the same time
removing the majority of the outstanding risk. Following on from our successful
marketing campaign at Met Building, Percy Street, W1, our recently completed
refurbishment at 21 Sackville Street, W1 is already 60% under offer at rents
some 20% ahead of our valuers' March 2006 estimate. Since the year end, we have
begun demolition work at Knighton House on Mortimer Street and expect to begin
work on our four remaining near-term projects by this coming October.

We have been working hard to build up our next pipeline of projects once those
in the near-term are complete. Currently, our medium-term programme comprises 10
schemes of some 1.2 million sq ft, where our holdings at Blackfriars Road, SE1
and at Bishopsgate, EC2 are both the subject of major planning applications
later this summer.

Turnover in London's investment markets remains at, or close, to record levels,
fuelled by strong demand from UK and overseas institutions and this weight of
money continues to exert further downward pressure on yields. We expect to take
advantage of these circumstances by selling properties with limited further
opportunity for value creation. Since the year end, we have sold 3 properties
for £83 million, generating a surplus to their March 2006 book value of 12%. We
have also made a number of interesting acquisitions since the year end,
including purchases next to our existing properties both at Shand Street, SE1
and our joint venture holdings in Broadway, SW1. Whilst we expect the current
strong demand for central London real estate to continue, we are satisfied that
our focused, value driven approach will enable us to unearth further acquisition
opportunities this year.

At the time of our results announcement in May, I mentioned that we were giving
detailed thought to whether it was in the Company's best interest to convert
into a Real Estate Investment Trust ('REIT') following the expected introduction
of this new tax-efficient regime in January 2007. The all-important detailed
regulations which define the operating parameters of a REIT have begun to emerge
and, from what we have seen so far, we remain broadly positive about the
prospects of a conversion. Your Board will be analysing the remaining details as
they become available and I expect us to make a definitive statement towards the
end of the year.

2006 was a busy and successful year for Great Portland and one in which the hard
work of everybody at the Group over the past few years showed through to the
excellent results. Looking forward, we are well positioned to take further
advantage of the strength in our core markets, particularly the West End. Our
development portfolio has plenty of opportunity for significant growth, our
average portfolio rents are low offering material upside and the balance sheet
is conservatively geared giving us ample capacity for expansion. We look forward
with confidence to building on the strong returns we delivered last year and we
expect to provide shareholders with an update on our progress later this month
when we publish our first quarterly valuation for the three months to the end of
June.'


Contacts:

Great Portland Estates plc
Toby Courtauld, Chief Executive                 020 7647 3042

Finsbury
James Murgatroyd                                020 7251 3801
Gordon Simpson



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