Shareholders to decide fate of De La Rue

Oberthur’s overtures to De La Rue’s shareholders have just begun

THE fate of British money-printer De La Rue lies in its shareholders’ hands this week, as Oberthur Technologies tries to sell them on its takeover bid of 905p, worth £895m in total.

Oberthur, which is being advised by Lazard & Co and HSBC, upped the stakes yesterday by claiming that De La Rue has lost its biggest client, without which some analysts have said it would be worth only 620p per share.

Shareholders will have to decide whether to hold out for more when they could take a safe bet at £9.

Oberthur has tried to boost its appeal further by promising not to take jobs abroad if it gets control of the UK firm, which prints sterling banknotes for the Bank of England.

In its statement yesterday, it said: “Oberthur intends to maintain the production of all sterling banknotes in the UK.” However, the company would not make a commitment on the production of passports. Unite the union said in December that it was opposed to the French takeover.

De La Rue’s biggest shareholders include Capital World Investors, which owns 15 per cent, Prudential, which has 12 per cent, and Capital Research and Management, which owns nine per cent of its stock. The company is advised by JP Morgan Cazenove and Rothschild.