De La Rue steps up cost-cutting plans amid ‘difficult’ banknote market

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Banknote printer De La Rue has ramped up its cost-cutting drive after order delays and tough market conditions pushed annual revenues lower.

The firm is aiming to make annual savings of £40 million under its “improvement plan’ in the current financial year, an increase of £10m on its original target.

An 8 per cent fall in revenues to £484m during the year to 30 March was mainly due to lower volumes in its currency division, which accounts for more than 60 per cent of De La Rue’s sales.

Underlying pre-tax profit rose 2 per cent to £59m, in line with analysts’ forecasts, but that excludes a £7.6m charge, the bulk of which related to the cost of implementing its improvement plan.

Chief executive Tim Cobbold said: “Overall order intake reflected the difficult market conditions and an historically low level of overspill volume available to the commercial producers.

“We enter the new financial year with increased cost savings identified and a strong pipeline of order opportunities, more than 10 per cent higher than at the same time last year. Whilst these opportunities must be secured for delivery in the year, the board remains confident of achieving the 2013/14 improvement plan target of an operating profit in excess of £100m.”