De La Rue authentication closes on £100m in sales this year

A buoyant first-half performance has put De La Rue's authentication division on track to reach £100m ($134m) in sales for the current financial year, which would represent a sizeable advance on the prior year.

Authentication products – physical and digital technologies used to authenticate products through the supply chain and protect them from counterfeiting, as well as to track taxable goods and fight against illicit trade – grew 28 per cent in the first half of fiscal 2021/22 to just over £44m, despite the impact of the pandemic.

The performance helped list De La Rue's overall revenues slightly to £179 million, backed by a 5% gain for the currency division – which is focused on the printing and design of banknotes – and offset by the sale of the company's international identity solutions business.

"The results from our two ongoing divisions, authentication and currency, have more than offset the cessation of the UK passport contract last financial year," said chef executive Clive Vacher, who has been tasked with turning around the company since coming on board in October 2019.

The authentication division was boosted once again by countries adopting tobacco tax stamp schemes to comply with the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) – in the process of being revisited – as well as the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

As previously reported, it has also secured new contracts companies in the technology and healthcare sectors – with Microsoft and an unidentified COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer – that contributed to the revenue growth.

There have been a number of examples of falsification of COVID-19 vaccines – including most recently an incident in Iran involving AstraZeneca's shot.

De La Rue said it expects the new contracts to deliver growth in volumes and revenue in the second half compared to the first six months of the year.

However, it added there "remains some uncertainty regarding the recovery path from the COVID-19 pandemic and the local timescales to launch new schemes in countries where we are contracted to provide solutions."

Meanwhile, a recently-announced expansion at its manufacturing unit in Malta is being delivered on time and within its £80m budget, and will double the capacity for tax stamps and brand protection labels as well as building capacity in currency.

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