Thursday 19 September 2019

De La Rue builds profits despite Brexit passport drama

The company said its failure to secure the high-profile government contract was “disappointing”.

De La Rue caused controversy over its failure to secure the passport contract (PA)
De La Rue caused controversy over its failure to secure the passport contract (PA)

By Helen Cahill, Press Association City Reporter

De La Rue’s profits climbed last year, despite the company’s “disappointing” failure to secure the contract for manufacturing the UK’s new post-Brexit passports.

Pre-tax profits nearly doubled from £58.2 million to £113.6 million in the year ended 25 March, with revenues up by 7%, from £461.7 million to £493.9 million.

However, adjusted operating profit, which included a hit to De La Rue’s paper business, fell from £70.7 million to £62.8 million.

De La Rue said this was due to investment in research and development (R&D) and a £3.7 million write off from the costs associated with its failed bid to make UK passports.

The company said it was looking at its cost base to make sure it can be more competitive in future.

De La Rue chief executive Martin Sutherland (PA)

Martin Sutherland, chief executive at De La Rue, said: “Solid growth in all segments has been offset by strategically focused increases in investment in R&D and sales, which will drive long term sustainable growth.

“While losing the new UK passport tender was disappointing, it does not change our goals, nor does it detract from the underlying performance of the group which remains strong.”

De La Rue caused an uproar last year after it failed to beat a European rival when its contract for UK passports was re-tendered.

The government said it was saving £120 million by going for a different firm, enraging unions, who said the decision would impact jobs.

De La Rue, the largest commercial passport maker in the world, consulted with lawyers on whether to appeal the government’s decision.

However, it decided that taking further action was not in the best interests of the company.

In its full-year results on Wednesday, De La Rue said the re-tender would not impact its financial performance over the next 18 months as it is still filling out its current government contract.

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