De La Rue row escalates

Jo Francis
Thursday, November 10, 2022

The ongoing row between activist investor Crystal Amber and De La Rue has escalated with the publication of an open letter to all shareholders in the security printing specialist.

De La Rue board "unanimously disagrees" with the Crystal Amber analysis
De La Rue board "unanimously disagrees" with the Crystal Amber analysis

The letter, from Crystal Amber chairman Christopher Waldron, follows the investor’s request that De La Rue chairman Kevin Loosemore should resign immediately, with shareholders to have their say at a general meeting on 2 December. 

Waldron’s open letter to shareholders published yesterday makes a number of statements, and details why the investor believes Loosemore should resign, citing “inappropriate and concerning communications” regarding Crystal Amber’s proposals, accused him of defamation, and stated that the group’s three-year turnaround plan has failed. 

It calls for De La Rue’s board costs of £2.1m to be substantially reduced as the business is no longer a FTSE 100 company. 

Crystal Amber also called for De La Rue to communicate a strategy for growth, and said: “Cost cutting is not a long-term strategy.”

In response, De La Rue’s board issued a terse statement that said: “The board unanimously disagrees with the analysis portrayed by the incomplete correspondence contained in the letter and will make no further comment.”

Crystal Amber is calling for De La Rue, as market leader, to focus on the strategic value of its Currency and Authentication divisions and to participate in industry consolidation. It also thinks the group should dispose of its pension scheme. 

De La Rue’s interim results will be announced on 23 November.

The group’s share price has declined by near 40% since the start of the year. 

Crystal Amber stated that it was currently De La Rue’s second-largest shareholder with a stake of just under 10%. It first invested in the business in 2018, and invested a further £18m at the time of De La Rue’s £100m fundraising in the summer of 2020.

The Crystal Amber letter in full can be found here.

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