Written by: Keith Tully
Reviewed: Wednesday 2nd December, 2015
The UK- based printer of banknotes De La Rue has announced plans to scale back production across its operations as demand for paper notes worldwide continues to decline.
A total of 300 jobs look set to be lost across the business, which is planning to go from printing around eight billion banknotes each year to printing roughly six billion over each forthcoming 12-month period.
De La Rue is based on Tyneside in the North East of England and prints the banknotes of over 150 different currencies worldwide, as well as a variety of identity and security-related products.
The company is a major producer of digital passports and will soon be printing new polymer-based £5 and £10 notes in the UK which are set to enter circulation in 2016.
However, demand for its paper banknotes has been falling notably in recent quarters, with the public company being forced to issue a series of profit warnings as a result.
Its newly-announced restructuring plan is intended to save De La Rue more than £13 million a year from 2018, with two production lines set to be closed with that aim in mind.
Aspects of its production efforts will move from the UK to Malta over the next few years but plans are in place for its operating base in Gateshead to remain in use and become one of three “centres for excellence” for printing currency.
Expectations are that no jobs will be lost within the company’s UK operations but banknote printing will stop at its facility in Malta, where 400 employees are likely to be impacted and 300 are “at risk of redundancy”.
“Our manufacturing footprint review has identified significant opportunities for improvements in capability and efficiency,” said Martin Sutherland, De La Rue’s chief executive.
“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.”
De La Rue’s history as a printing business dates back to 1813 with the company having played an important role in the evolution of playing cards, greeting cards, paper money and postage stamps, and more recently ATMs, ePassports and polymer banknotes.