anknote printer De La Rue is on the hunt for acquisitions as it seeks to move beyond its core business of making currency for 140 nations and official documents such as passports.
Posting annual results, chief executive Martin Sutherland said the company was “keeping a weather eye for bolt-ons in technology around identification and verification systems” with an aim of becoming a “one-stop shop” for secure documents.
De La Rue has the contract to print UK passports and is developing systems and software used in the issuance of the such documents, along with background checks on applicants.
In the year to March 26, De La Rue’s revenue rose 3pc to £488.2m, but profit fell 47pc to £20.8m.
Excluding the troublesome cash processing systems (CPS) division, however, which De La Rue revealed on Monday it had sold to a private equity buyer in a deal potentially worth £10m, the picture was more positive.
Revenue from continuing operations was 7pc higher at £454.5m and profit was up 35pc to £54.9m.
“We are a year into a five-year strategic programme where we focus on core operations,” said Mr Sutherland. “The CPS business was in and out of profit and we got a good price for it.”
Other parts of the business transformation include the closure of De La Rue’s production site in Malta, and focusing on facilities in Gateshead, Kenya and Sri Lanka. As part of this, De La Rue’s annual banknote production level will fall from eight billion a year to six billion.
The company also has a contract to operate the Bank of England’s printing site in Debden.
Mr Sutherland added he was also in “complex” talks with potential partners about combining production of the “substrate” that notes are printed on, whether paper or polymer.
He declined to give further details other than to say the company was not looking to shed jobs.
A £30m contract for secure documents came to an end during the year and the chief executive said De La Rue “had some work to do to make up” for this. Nevertheless, he was confident on the company’s strength and market share, with the order book up 62pc to £365m. De La Rue was involved in either the design or production of 44pc of all banknotes worldwide over the past year.
The full-year dividend was held at 25p.
Source: The Telegraph