Sunday 15 September 2019

De La Rue chief to step down as firm announces strategic review

The passport and banknote maker blamed ‘growing competitive pressure in the banknote print market’ for a downturn in performance.

Banknote and passport-maker De Le Rue has announced a strategic review as chief executive Martin Sutherland confirms his departure (Home Office/PA)
Banknote and passport-maker De Le Rue has announced a strategic review as chief executive Martin Sutherland confirms his departure (Home Office/PA)

By Henry Saker-Clark, Press Association City Reporter

The chief executive of De La Rue, Martin Sutherland, has announced plans to step down from the banknote and passport-maker after five years.

The announcement was made as the Basingstoke-based company revealed it has launched a three-year strategic review of its business following the loss of its contract to print British passports.

De La Rue also blamed “growing competitive pressure in the banknote print market” for a downturn in performance, as profits dived over the past year.

Operating profits for the year to March 2019 plunged 74% to £31.5 million, down from £123 million the previous year.

Revenue jumped 14% to £564.8 million, significantly driven by growth in its currency division.

Currency sales increased by 20% to £447.1 million, while it was weighed down by a decline in ID revenue, which fell by 4% to £78.4 million.

The Government announced last year that it was changing passport suppliers, with Franco-Dutch firm Gemalto now set to produce the country’s post-Brexit blue passports.

ipanews_05ef573d-532e-4ed8-b10e-d27431250fb1_embedded225250232
Martin Sutherland is stepping down as chief executive of De La Rue (De La Rue/PA)

De La Rue said it has now started a three-year transformation programme with an aim of delivering annual savings of more than £20 million by the full-year 2022, to mitigate pressures affecting the banknote industry.

Mr Sutherland said: “As we look ahead, the conclusion of the UK passport contract in 2020 and the growing competitive pressure in the banknote print market present some significant challenges for our business.

“To partially mitigate against this, today we have set out a three-year cost reduction programme.

“In addition, we will be proposing a reorganisation of our business over the next 12 months designed to enhance our strategic focus and generate greater efficiencies.”

Mr Sutherland has agreed to step down as chief executive, but will continue to serve in the role until a successor is identified, the company said.

Chairman Philip Rogerson said: “For the past five years Martin has brought tremendous energy and strategic insight to moving the company from a traditional manufacturing business to a service-oriented business building on leading-edge technological solutions, as well as refocusing the business on its core strengths and bringing greater balance to the portfolio.

“The company is now well positioned to move to the next phase of this journey.”

Shares in the company fell 25.7% to 340p in early trading on Thursday.

PA Media

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News