Bank of England extends De La Rue deal

Jo Francis
Friday, October 30, 2020

The Bank of England has extended its banknote printing contract with De La Rue for an additional three years.

Quality control checks on the polymer £10
Quality control checks on the polymer £10

The existing contract saw De La Rue take over the operation of the BoE’s Debden banknote facility in April 2015, and was set to expire in 2025.

It will now continue to run until 2028 after the BoE opted to take up its option of a three-year extension that was part of the original deal.

Bank of England chief cashier Sarah John described the relationship with De La Rue as “important” for the Bank of England.

“During the course of the current contract, we have worked closely together to launch three new banknote designs on polymer. In 2021, the release of the new Alan Turing £50 note will complete our polymer set. We are very pleased to announce the extension of the contract today, which will enable us to continue to develop our Debden facility as a global centre of excellence for banknote printing.”

De La Rue CEO Clive Vacher hailed the news and asserted the group’s commitment to UK manufacturing, despite the radical downscaling at its Gateshead site.

In a statement he said: "We are delighted that our contract with the Bank of England has been extended to 2028, highlighting De La Rue's commitment to UK manufacturing.

“Our relationship with the Bank of England, and the operations in Debden, form a cornerstone of our growth strategy for currency design and print, including the conversion of customers worldwide onto cleaner, more secure Safeguard polymer banknotes. The facilities at Debden produce some of the most technically complex banknotes in the world and we work closely with the Bank of England to reduce the environmental impact of our operations. We look forward to continuing to work together with the Bank, raising the bar for security and sustainability long into the future.”

The Gateshead site currently acts as the disaster recovery facility for Debden but will cease banknote manufacturing at the end of the year.

Neither De La Rue nor the BoE were able to say what the future contingency plans would be at the time of writing.

A spokesperson for De La Rue said it was “commercially sensitive” and “not something we can comment on at present”.

De La Rue also has currency printing operations in Malta, Kenya and Sri Lanka.

There are more than 4.4bn Bank of England notes in circulation. De La Rue is the sole print provider to the bank. 

The PLC’s share price has been on the slide this month and slipped by 1p to 135.40p this morning. It was 169p earlier in October.

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