De La Rue chief: More work heading to the North East

BANK note printer De La Rue yesterday promised further investment and more jobs at its Gateshead plant as it unveiled a rise in half-year turnover and profits.

BANK note printer De La Rue yesterday promised further investment and more jobs at its Gateshead plant as it unveiled a rise in half-year turnover and profits.

The Basingstoke-based firm has invested £13m in its Team Valley facility in recent years, with staff numbers rising from 240 in 2009 to 450 today.

That figure is expected to grow further as more work is shifted to the North East from a factory in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, which was closed as part of a cost-cutting drive.

Chief executive Tim Cobbold told The Journal that the facility had seen “very significant investment” since 2010.

“A new bank note production line is going in which should be complete by the first quarter of next year,” he said.

“Our Dunstable facility shut and the work is moving to Gateshead. There will be some extra employment because of work we are moving up to Gateshead.”

He did not put a figure on the additional jobs but said a number of improvements had already been made at the Team Valley site including better security and lighting.

The extra work going to Gateshead, the group’s biggest UK bank note printer, is part of De La Rue’s ongoing cost-cutting scheme which aims to reduce costs by £30m company-wide.

The secure technology group, which traces its roots back to the early part of the 19th Century, has around 4,000 staff and makes bank notes for more than 150 countries. It also produces government identity schemes, product authentication systems and cash processing solutions.

De La Rue yesterday revealed a 3% increase in revenues to £245.4m in the six months to September 29, while pre-tax profits rose by 3% to £27.9m.

The group warned earlier this month that its full year profit would be impacted by contract delays in a number of its larger currency orders, though the effects will be mostly felt in the second half of the year.

Cobbold said: “During the first half of the year we have reported satisfactory growth in revenue and operating profit despite a more challenging bank note paper market.

“We made good progress in implementing the improvement plan with a continued focus on procurement, quality improvement and reducing waste which has delivered cumulative savings of £12m to date.

“We remain on track to achieve the plan’s £30m per annum of savings.”

Despite the delay of a “number of significant” orders, Cobbold said he was confident they would be received for shipment in 2013/14.

He said: “Overall order intake has been satisfactory notwithstanding the delayed orders, with the currency 12-month order book growing by 7% during the period. With the reasonable order book, a strong pipeline and continued progress on the improvement plan, the board is confident in achieving a target 2013/14 operating profit in excess of £100m.”

Shares in De La Rue, which fell significantly on the firm’s profit warning earlier this month, closed the day down 11.23p at 987.27p.

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