Whew, must have been a goddamned spelling mistake or something.
I have it sorted now with:
export tmpgrp=`echo $grp |cut -c -3`
So it all seems to be workign the way I want it.
The reason I'm cutting it is that all the users are in groups like syd_admin, syd_service, syd_store etc and I need to assign some variables based on the branch which is always the first 3 characters 'syd'.
Unless I'm doing this the complete wrong way which is entirely probable
I'm not exactly a jedi when it comes to scripting, this has just sort of pushed into my lap...
But thanks for all the help guys, it got me sorted.