Under investor pressure, De La Rue holds vote on chairman

Authentication and currency specialist De La Rue is holding a general meeting to ask shareholders whether chairman Kevin Loosemore should continue in the role.

The decision comes after fund manager Crystal Amber – one of De La Rue's biggest investors with a 10 per cent stake – put in a request for Loosemore to resign with immediate effect.

A month ago Crystal Amber asked for a seat on the board, after levelling criticism at De La Rue over a number of years over executive pay and its strategic direction.

It is seeking a review that could result in a sale or break-up of the company, which it says has a valuation that is "significantly under-priced" given "strong competitive positions in high return businesses and attractive growth opportunities."

In a statement, De La Rue said its board "has engaged with Crystal Amber on a number of occasions to understand its concerns and so is disappointed that it has chosen to pursue this course of action."

It also pointed to the "overwhelming support (97.8%) received from shareholders for the re-election" of Loosemore at its annual general meeting held earlier this year.

"The company, led by CEO Clive Vacher, continues to execute its strategy and will provide an update on progress made at the time of its interim results due to be announced on 23 November," it added.

The general meeting an vote on Loosemore's future role at De La Rue is scheduled to he held December 2.

The company said earlier this year that despite pandemic-related disruption it had managed to increase adjusted operating profit by 30 per cent to £36 million ($42m), up 20 per cent in its currency business and 44 per cent in authentication.

It warned however that rising costs in its supply chain have made the outlook for the business uncertain. Authentication is the smaller of its businesses, with sales of £90m last year versus £281m for currency, but grew at 16 per cent while currency shrank 2 per cent.

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