De La Rue wins Oman authentication contract

Jo Francis
Friday, February 4, 2022

De La Rue has won a big authentication contract with the Oman Tax Authority, but the group is also under pressure again from activist investor Richard Bernstein after its share price tanked on bad news last month.

Authentication: first phase of new contract will be tobacco products
Authentication: first phase of new contract will be tobacco products

The five-year Oman contract involves a Digital Tax Stamp setup, which combines secure printed tax stamps with digital tracking technology. 

The Oman Tax Authority said that each stage of the roll-out would target one type of goods traded in markets, with the first phase expected to begin in April, targeting tobacco products.

The De La Rue system is compliant with the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC).

De La Rue Authentication managing director Andrew Clint said the business was honoured to secure the Oman business.

“De La Rue now secures more than 14 billion products annually across our Government Revenue Solutions (GRS) and brand protection solutions ensuring that we are protecting revenues and reputations for customers all around the world,” he said.

De La Rue said the fresh contract would contribute to its financial results from early in the 2022/2023 financial year. 

Separately, according to a report in the Financial Times, Richard Bernstein’s Crystal Amber Fund, which has a 10% stake in De La Rue, has called on the group to consider a sale or breakup following the profit warning last month that wiped 25% off its share price and sent its shares to a 52-week low. 

In its January fund update on De La Rue, Crystal Amber stated: “The Fund believes that following the Covid-19 pandemic, the industry requires consolidation. Given its current rating, the Fund believes it is highly likely that in the coming months, De La Rue will be the subject of a takeover bid from one or more of its overseas competitors. The Fund believes that this will be the inevitable outcome of management prioritising 100% capacity utilisation rather than cash gross margin maximisation.”

During 2021 Crystal Amber reduced its shareholding in De La Rue from 15.1% to 10%.

Bernstein previously flagged the PLC as a potential takeover target back in 2018.

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