Future of British banknote printer in doubt after calamitous half year results

British banknote and passport printer De La Rue has warned that its future is in “significant doubt”.

It comes after the firm announced that there was “material uncertainty that casts significant doubt on the group’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

The organisation, which is set to print the new £20 banknote in February 2020, reported a loss in the first half of its financial year.

According to the firm’s financial statement, the printer suffered a £12.1 million pre-tax loss for the six months to 28 September 2019, compared to a £7.1 million profit in the same period last year.

The company said it is now accelerating its restructuring plan as a result, as well as suspending dividends.

“The board believes that significant changes in the board and executive teams, along with a restructuring of the business, has contributed to the poor performance of the business in the period,” the statement reads.

“This has contributed to a larger variance between forecasts and performance than has been experienced historically.”

The news – which wiped almost £40 million of the listed firm’s valuation – also risks the jobs of some 2,500 staff globally.

The firm’s poor financial year follows a series of setbacks, not least including the loss of the post-Brexit UK passport print contract to a Franco-Dutch firm.

De La Rue also announced in May last year that it wrote off £18 million after Venezuela’s central bank failed to pay its bills.

Commenting on the report, CEO Clive Vacher said the company is cutting costs “further and faster”.

“The business has experienced an unprecedented period of change with the chairman, chief executive, senior independent director and most of the executive team leaving or resigning in the period,” he said.

“We have already identified and started to implement the urgent actions needed to stabilise the business and allow us to complete the review.”