Tuesday 16 July 2019 9:05 pm

Investor 'threatens to oust chair' at troubled printer De La Rue

Banknote and passport producer De La Rue faces fresh boardroom disruption after a City investor is said to have threatened to force its chairman out.

Crystal Amber activist fund has written to the company, informing the board that it plans to force an EGM unless chairman Philip Rogerson resigns by its annual shareholder meeting later this month.

Read more: De La Rue share price sinks 25 per cent as CEO quits after loss of passport contract

The news was first reported by Sky News.

Last month, Rogerson said he would throw in the towl once he had brought in a replacement for chief executive Martin Sutherland.

Rogerson and Sutherland are set to leave the after a torrid period. Last year, the firm lost the contract to make British passports after Brexit. It has endured a spate of profit warnings and is still chasing an £18m bill which the Venezuelan government has not yet paid.

The firm’s shares have plummeted nearly 45 per cent in the last year. Crystal Amber and other investors are concerned this leaves the door open to a takeover bid.

Shares closed at 292p today, a 1.2 per cent drop.

The board now has just 10 days to respond to the demand before it holds its AGM.

De La Rue is the largest commercial security printer and papermaker in the world, producing more than 150 national currencies.

Activist investor Crystal Amber last month branded De La Rue’s board “clueless” and described its difficulties as “entirely self-inflicted”.

Read more: De La Rue clearout continues as two more directors step down

In its warning last month, De La Rue revealed a drop in profits, which it pinned on increased competition and a £18.1m loss that arose after Venezuela’s central bank was unable to pay it for note-printing services. It had made two profit warnings during 2018.

The 198-year-old firm last year lost the passport contract worth £490m to a European competitor. After being defeated by Franco-Dutch firm Gemalto, it sold off its passport-making arm for £42m to a Swiss firm.

Main image: Getty