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Underlying sales and profits are up at De La Rue, but the group’s results were overshadowed by the ongoing fall-out over the UK passport contract loss, which has resulted in one investor viewing the group as again being a potential takeover target.
In the year to 31 March, group sales were up 7% to £493.9m, while adjusted operating profit (excluding the £60.9m gain from the sale of its specialist paper business) fell 11% to £62.8m.
If paper is excluded from the figures, turnover increased by 4% and adjusted operating profits were up 7% to £56.9m.
Chief executive Martin Sutherland highlighted the strength of the PLC’s underlying results and order book, and said that divesting the paper business had helped the firm achieve “its strongest balance sheet for years” with net debt reduced by £71m to £49.9m.
The security printer was also boosted by a huge reduction in its pension deficit, which fell from £237m to £87.6m thanks to a decision by the trustees of the scheme to change the indexation from the Retail Prices Index to the Consumer Prices Index.
However, the controversial loss of the UK passport contract – which still has another 18 months to run – understandably loomed large over the figures.