DE La Rue, the UK money printer and takeover target, has appointed a new chief executive known for the successful sale of his last firm, Chloride.
Tim Cobbold will take over the helm of the embattled manufacturer in January at a time when many are suggesting that it could soon become the object of a bidding war.
The firm revealed last week that the private French money printer Oberthur Technologies had made a bid for it at 905p per share.
As chief executive of Chloride Group, Cobbold presided over a bidding war that saw eventual buyer Emerson Network Power up its bid to £944m from an initial offering of £723m, in order to triumph over Swiss engineering firm ABB.
The winning bid by Emerson came in at 375p per share, a 79 per cent premium over the stock price at the time.
De La Rue denied that Cobbold was being brought in to bid up the firm’s price for a possible sale.
“[Cobbold] is excited by De La Rue as an independent company,” said a spokesman.
De La Rue has been seen as vulnerable for takeover since revealing that production problems have cost it £35m and put at risk a major contract with the Royal Bank of India this year.
TIM COBBOLD, APPOINTED CEO OF DE LA RUE
TIM Cobbold is no stranger to bidding wars after his successful sale of Chloride Group to Emerson Network Power in September. Chloride shareholders benefited from a £221m increase in the sale price after ABB stepped in to counter-offer.
Since the sale he has occupied a senior role at Emerson, which he is leaving to take up his position as chief executive of De La Rue.
He joined Chloride originally as chief operations officer in 2007, before moving up to the top job the year after.
Before his job at Chloride, however, he had worked solely at Smiths Group (formerly TI Group) since qualifying as a mechanical engineer and a chartered accountant.
After joining Smiths in 1989, he soon worked his way into several senior financial management positions over his 18-year stint at the company. He also holds a non-executive directorship of Drax Group, the coal power generator.
He will begin at De La Rue in January at an important time: analysts see his task as either to resolve its production problems – or to sell it on at a premium.