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Viridian Group PLC (VRD)

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Tuesday 05 September, 2000

Viridian Group PLC

Subsid's Acquisition

Viridian Group PLC
5 September 2000

     VIRIDIAN GROUP SUBSIDIARY OPEN + DIRECT ACQUIRES GB INSURANCE BROKER


Viridian  Group PLC announced today that Open + Direct, its financial services
company,  has  demonstrated its commitment to becoming a major player  in  the
British  insurance intermediary sector by acquiring Birmingham based insurance
broker  Footman James & Company Limited. The value of the net assets  acquired
is £250,000.

Footman  James,  which employs around 100 staff, is one of  Britain's  leading
independent  insurance brokers for specialist vehicles and has  around  80,000
customers across the UK.  As well as motorcycle and private vehicles,  Footman
James specialises in classic car insurance and is closely associated with many
enthusiasts'  groups including the Triumph Sport 6 Club,  MG,  Lotus  and  BMW
clubs and the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club.

This is the second insurance acquisition in a month for Open + Direct and  the
third this year.  Last month the company acquired Ulster-based S G Cathcart  &
Co,  a  motorcycle  insurance  specialist and  in  January  it  bought  Spratt
Insurance Services, which has offices in four centres across Northern Ireland.

Open  +  Direct is a high-growth technology-driven financial services company.
It  differentiates itself from many of its financial services' competitors  by
focusing  on the delivery of technology-driven business solutions in  its  key
products  -  point-of-sale  Retail Credit,  Personal  Loans,  Home  and  Motor
Insurance and Fleet Management.

Paul  Elliott, Managing Director of Open + Direct, which has its  headquarters
in  Belfast,  said:  'This acquisition is a further step in  our  strategy  of
expansion  into  the personal lines insurance business through organic  growth
and  the  acquisition of leading intermediaries in each of the  main  personal
insurance sectors.

The  move  into the insurance market in Great Britain is a natural progression
for us, given Open + Direct's success there with our retail credit services.

Through   the  acquisition  of  Footman  James,  Open  +  Direct  is   further
diversifying  its  product  range  into the area  of  specialist  and  classic
vehicles.'

Peter James, joint managing director of Footman James, said:

'We  welcome this move which will bring mutual benefits to both our  companies
by pooling resources and working together.

Open  +  Direct  will enjoy access to a wider customer base, as  well  as  the
professional  broking skills which Footman James has been able to  develop  in
the  specialist fields of motor insurance for modern car owners,  classic  car
and  specialist  vehicle  enthusiasts as well as commercial  cover  for  motor
manufacturers, traders and dealers.

At  the same time, Footman James will benefit from access to greater financial
and  other  resources which will enable us to widen and enhance the  range  of
services we are able to offer.'


For further information contact:

Nigel Wilson/Paul Elliott
Viridian Group                               (028) 9066 8416

Andrew Dowler
Financial Dynamics                           020 7831 3113


Notes to Editors:

Open + Direct is a financial services company which differentiates itself from
many  of  its  competitors  by focusing on the delivery  of  technology-driven
business solutions in its key products - point-of-sale Retail Credit, Personal
Loans, Home and Motor Insurance and Fleet Management.

Created  in  April 1999, Open + Direct is the fast-growing financial  services
arm  of the Viridian Group.  The company is divided into four divisions,  each
catering for a specific market.

1.Retail  Services  provides a range of credit  products;  facilities  and
  solutions to the retail sector through its use of state-of-the-art IT and
  call centre  technology.   It has established itself as the leading 
  provider of retail credit in Northern Ireland and is expanding rapidly into 
  Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

2.Fleet  Solutions  is  a  multi-franchise contract  hire  company,  which
  provides complete transport solutions and associated financing for a range
  of business needs.  From total fleet requirements to individual request, 
  Fleet Solutions  supplies customers with a comprehensive range  of  quality 
  cars, commercial vehicles, mobile plant and equipment.

3.Personal  Finance  offers  the  Northern  Ireland  public  a  range  of
  competitive financial services including personal loans, insurance products,
  savings, mortgages and the unique Energy Visa credit card.

4.Property  Services  largely  through its  joint  venture  with  Morrison
  Developments Ltd.

All  together,  Open  + Direct employs more than 275 staff  and  is  currently
seeing  the  creation of new jobs in Belfast through its  expansion  into  the
credit market in Britain.  In the first two months of the year 2000 alone,  it
won more than £20 million of new credit business from companies across England
and Scotland, as well as Northern Ireland, after setting up an office in Great
Britain  late  last  year  and  investing in leading  edge  real  time  credit
management systems.

Viridian  Group PLC is Northern Ireland's largest listed company by  turnover.
The  Group  includes Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE); regulated electricity
transmission,   distribution  and  supply;  SX3,  technology  based   business
outsourcing  solutions;  Open + Direct, financial services;  nevada  tele.com,
telecoms  and  internet solutions (a joint venture with Energis PLC),  Energia
energy supply; Powerteam, electrical contractor, and Viridian Power Resources,
power generation.

The Viridian Group employs over 2500 people and in 1999 / 00 had a turnover of
£566 million.

The   Group   includes  Northern  Ireland  Electricity  (NIE)  the   regulated
electricity  company  for  Northern Ireland  which  operates  the  electricity
transmission   and  distribution  system  and  supplies  680,000   homes   and
businesses.

Other  business  in  the Group include IT and business processing  outsourcing
company, SX3; financial services company, Open + Direct and nevada tele.com, a
joint  venture  between  the  Viridian Group PLC  and  Energis  PLC  which  is
developing an internet and telecommunications business in Ireland.

Also  members of the Viridian Group are electrical contractor, Powerteam;  and
Energia,  which  supplies electricity to the unregulated markets  in  Northern
Ireland  and  the Republic of Ireland.  The Group is also developing  a  power
station at Huntstown, North of Dublin.

Contact Robin Greer, Media Relations Manager - tel: 44 (0)28 9068 9178
Website: www.viridiangroup.co.uk



                                                                    

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