* Year pretax profit up 73 pct at 57.7 mln stg
* Revenue up 14 pct to 528 mln stg
* Year-end order book up 14 pct at 248 mln stg
* Total dividend maintained at 42.3p
* Declines to comment on Greece, euro zone opportunities
* Shares down 1.6 pct
By Neil Maidment
LONDON, May 29 A strong demand for new money
helped profits bounce back at De La Rue, the banknote
printing firm said on Tuesday, but it declined to comment on
whether presses are ready to roll out the drachma yet should
Greece leave the euro zone.
Reporting results for the year to March 31, the British
firm, which prints over 150 national currencies as well as
passports such as the UK's, said underlying pretax profits rose
73 percent to 57.7 million pounds ($91 million), slightly ahead
of the consensus market forecast compiled by the company of 55.7
Analysts at Panmure Gordon said the firm was back on the
front foot after it was hit two years ago by production problems
and the suspension of work with its biggest customer, the
Reserve Bank of India. However, the immediate market attention
is focused on the possibility of it getting a deal to print
Greek drachma notes.
Shares in the FTSE 250 firm were down 3.4 percent at 975
pence at 1046 GMT, valuing it at around 1 billion pounds.
"In the short term sentiment is likely to be dominated by
thinking through the ramifications of a euro break-up and the
possible effects on the banknote printing market (likely to be a
positive), and we believe De La Rue could be a distinct
beneficiary," the analysts said in a research note.
Last week an industry source told Reuters that De La Rue had
drawn up contingency plans to print drachmas but on Tuesday its
chief executive Tim Cobbold declined to comment.
Cobbold had previously told Reuters in November that regime
changes and the euro zone crisis could create opportunities for
New orders and increasing demand for counterfeit protection
pushed De La Rue's banknote volumes up 8 percent to 6.4 billion
notes last year, meaning the firm printed around one in two of
all new banknotes produced.
Banknote demand also pushed paper volumes up 11 percent,
although market competition had become more challenging the firm
said. It added that it hoped a recent move into producing more
expensive polymer-based notes would help offset some pressure.
"We've launched our first polymer-based banknote. Hitherto
that has been supplied by a single supplier but now De La Rue
has entered that market that single supplier (Australian firm
Securency) I think will find life more difficult going forward,"
Cobbold told reporters.
De La Rue said it was on track to increase annual operating
profits from 63.1 million pounds in the year just ended to over
100 million pounds by the 2013/14 year, through cost savings and
revenue growth as it looks to recover from the problems that hit
profits last year.
De La Rue, said its order book now stood at 248 million
pounds, up 14 percent on a year ago and underpinning its
expectations for the current year, which it said remained
According to a Reuters poll of analysts it is expected to
turn in a pretax profit of 70 million pounds in the current