Banknote printer De La Rue to cut production

By Brian Milligan
Personal Finance reporter

image copyrightThinkstock

UK-based banknote printer De La Rue has said it will cut production across the world, as demand for paper notes falls.

The company said it planned to reduce its capacity from eight billion notes a year to six billion.

Some work from the company's printing plant in Gateshead is to be transferred to Malta.

But the Tyneside operation will become one of three global "centres of excellence" for printing currency, and there will be no job losses.

However 300 jobs will be lost in Malta, where banknote printing will end.

Some stamps previously printed in the UK will now be transferred to Malta, along with some security products, like holograms for use on bottles of alcohol.

Plastic notes

Alongside Gateshead, banknote production will now be centred on Kenya and Sri Lanka.

"Today we are announcing plans to achieve a more streamlined De La Rue, in line with the future needs of our global customers, focused on centres for excellence with investment that underpins our future," said Martin Sutherland, De La Rue's chief executive.

The company currently prints more than 150 different currencies, as well as UK passports.

De la Rue - which has been producing banknotes since 1860 - has announced a series of profit warnings as it has struggled against competitors.

Last week it announced a 38% fall in underlying pre-tax profits.

As demand for paper notes has fallen, the company has moved into the production of plastic equivalents.

It is printing the new polymer £5 and £10 notes for the Bank of England, which will begin to enter circulation in 2016.

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