De La Rue profit boosted by currency unit growth

City A.M. Reporter
Banknote printer De La Rue has posted a 22 per cent rise in first-half profit, helped by growth at its key currency business, and said its turnaround plan was on track.

The world's largest outsourced banknote printer, which produces over 150 national currencies, has reported a profit before tax and exceptional items of £29m on revenues 14 per cent higher at £209.2m for the six months to 24 September.

It held its interim dividend at 14.1p.

The company, which will supply another currency shipment to cash-starved Libya in December, said its currency order book was up 14 per cent on the year-end and that print volumes rose 12 per cent to 2.8bn notes.

Profit at its currency unit rose seven per cent to £22.9m.

"Our strong order book in the currency business unit underpins our confidence in meeting our expectations for the full year," the company said in a statement.

De La Rue is expected to post an average pretax profit of £54m for the year to the end of March 2012, according to a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of seven analysts.

The FTSE 250 group, which saw 2011 profit tumble 68 per cent after paper production issues, is in the midst of a turnaround plan aimed at achieving an operating profit of more than £100m within three years.

The company said it was confident the plan would help it deliver an operating profit "in excess of 100 million pounds by 2013/14."

De La Rue, which also makes passports, driving licenses and cash processing machines, said its other units, especially identity solutions and cash processing, performed well during the period.

Shares in the firm, which have risen 11 per cent in the last three months, closed at 876p on Monday, valuing the business at around £875m.