The world’s biggest printer of banknotes, the Basingstoke UK based De La Rue, saw a fall in its half year profits of 45% while its share price did drop 13% at one point today to 541 pence.It has since regained to about 565p.

Since July the 1st the company has shed some 35% of its value.


The FTSE 250 company is also possibly on the verge of losing a very valuable customer, the Reserve Bank of India that contributes some 25% of their annual profits.

This all stemmed from banknote paper irregularities at its Overton factory earlier in the year when some employees were found to have deliberately falsified important paper test results after production errors regarding paper composition and thickness came to light. This led to police and Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigations, the suspension of paper shipments, the loss of their long serving chief executive James Hussey and now about £35 million in lost trade and 'exceptional items'.

The ongoing uncertainty as to the outcome of this incident is also weighing heavily on the firm.

The losses might have been more if it had not seen a gain from its sale of its share in the UK lottery operator Camelot Group plc.

De La Rue began in 1821 as a stationer and printer and moved through playing cards, stamps, writing implements (claiming the first practical fountain pen in 1881) and board games to the printing of money. In 2003 the company acquired the Bank of England banknote printing operations. It now provides banknotes for over 150 currencies.

The last CEO had resigned in August and many believe that the long delay in appointing a new one is hindering the recovery from the Overton banknote incident. The company say they are in final negotiations with their preferred candidate who will be in place 'early next year'.

Despite the losses the company has decided to maintain its interim dividend pay-out but has shelved plans for a share buyback.

Although De La Rue has been the recent biggest faller on the FTSE 250, its chairman Nicholas Brookes remains upbeat "There is no question that we will bounce back," he said.

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