De La Rue sees profits drop

BRITISH printer De La Rue yesterday reported a six per cent fall in pre-tax profits after&nbsp;it was hit by a hike in interest charges. <br /><br />The bank note printer and cash handling machine specialist reported a $44.2m profit (&pound;26.5m) in the six months&nbsp;to 26 September.<br /><br />As well as higher interest charges, the cost of reorganising its cash processing arm took its toll.<br /><br />But operating profits at De La Rue, which prints notes and security documents like passports for 150 countries, rose 17 per cent to $51m.<br /><br />And headline earnings per share increased by 48 per cent to 35.1p, with the dividend up three per cent at 14.1p. <br /><br />Movements in the value of sterling against the US dollar and euro added $14m to revenues.<br /><br />Chairman Nicholas Brookes said: &ldquo;The group has delivered a strong performance reflecting the successful execution of our focused strategy.&rdquo;<br /><br />Shares in the company, which have risen 12 per cent in the last three months, were 2.6 per cent down at 951p yesterday, valuing the group at around &pound;960m.<br /><br />Earlier this year De La Rue won a 10-year contract worth &pound;400m to design and produce biometric UK passports and hopes the deal will help it win more lucrative passport work.<br /><br />The company is the world&rsquo;s leading non Government banknote printer and generates 85 per cent of profits from note printing.