De La Rue wins UK banknotes printing contract

The Bank of England said yesterday it had awarded De La Rue a 10-year contract to print banknotes, including the UK's first plastic notes to go into widespread circulation, Reuters reported.

De La Rue, whose major customer is Reserve Bank of India, bagged the contract to print UK banknotes – beating G4S and French firm Oberthur Technologies.

The world's biggest non-governmental bank currency printer, De La Rue, already prints sterling notes for the Bank of England, and yesterday signed a fresh 10-year deal that would start in April 2015.

The group had already been selected as 'preferred bidder' in September for the contract, worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

The company's shares had halved this year following a spate of profit warnings and with the departure of its chief executive, shares were up nearly 3.7 per cent to finish 17.4p up at 492p.

The development comes as a blow to G4S, which had teamed up with  Oberthur Technologies to bid for the contract. In 2010, Oberthur made an unsuccessful attempt to acquire De La Rue (See: Bank note printer De La Rue rejects £750 million takeover offer from Oberthur).

For the first time in UK history De La Rue would print on plastic banknotes for £5 (featuring Winston Churchill) and £10 notes.

These would be more durable and could last  up to twice as long as paper ones. The £20 and £50 would still be printed on paper.

Though De La Rue produces its own banknote paper, it lost the contract for the production of  polymer banknotes last year. It subsequently spent £1million in a bid to acquire the company that beat it, Australian firm Innovia. (UK likely to launch 'wipe-clean' plastic currency soon).

The company had printed notes for the BoE since 2003. Work on the contract is expected to start in April 2015 at the facilities of the BoE in southeast England.

It had been earlier named as the preferred bidder for the contract.