De La Rue buoyed by renewed UK banknote contract

De La Rue has extended its exclusive contract to print banknotes for the Bank of England until 2028, in another fillip to the company as it pursues a turnaround plan.

The company has already launched three new polymer banknotes for the Bank of England – the £5, £10 and £20 designs – and these will be joined next year by the new £50 note, featuring celebrated mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing.

Last year, De La Rue shared a contract to produce the polymer substrate for the £50 note with Australian rival CCL. The shift to polymer from paper means notes will last longer and help tackle counterfeiting as they are harder to forge.

The turnaround drive – orchestrated by chief executive Clive Vacher, who joined the company a year ago after it lost a contract to produce the UK passport to Franco-Dutch rival Gemalto – is centred around a shift in its business to new areas such as product authentication and polymer banknotes and a reduced focus on traditional paper banknote and security document printing.

The extension to De La Rue’s contract is also good news for staff at a facility in Debden, Essex, owned by the Bank of England but operated by De La Rue, maintaining demand for its services – although the accelerated shift to contactless payments during the pandemic has raised doubts about the future of cash.

De La Rue is currently responsible for printing all Bank of England notes at the facility in Debden having entered into a 10-year contract commencing April 2015. In a statement the Bank of England said the contract will “enable us to continue to develop our Debden facility as a global centre of excellence for banknote printing.”

Vacher meanwhile said that De La Rue’s relationship with the Bank of England “form a cornerstone of our growth strategy for currency design and print, including the conversion of customers worldwide onto…polymer banknotes.”

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