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From Libya to China, banknote printer De La Rue's 200-year history

(Reuters) - British banknote printer De La Rue, whose roots stretch back nearly 200 years, on Tuesday warned its future was in doubt, wiping almost a quarter off the company’s value.

FILE PHOTO: The corporate logo of De La Rue is seen at a new EUR 27 million product authentication facility at De La Rue Malta at Bulebel Industrial Estate in Zejtun, Malta April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/File Photo

From printing cash during World War Two to developing the world’s first cash machine, here are some of the milestones in the company’s history:


London-listed De La Rue cut its profit forecast for the second time in five months days after appointing turnaround specialist Clive Vacher as CEO.

JULY 2019

UK Serious Fraud Office opened a criminal investigation over “suspected corruption” in South Sudan, where De La Rue had won a contract to print the country’s currency.

MAY 2019

De La Rue warned of a profit downturn this year and said its CEO Martin Sutherland would step down, triggering a 29% fall in shares.

MAY 2018

Activist investor Crystal Amber said the company was “highly vulnerable” to a takeover.

MARCH 2018

Company lost a contract to make new blue British passports after Brexit to Franco-Dutch firm Gemalto.


Company won a contract to supply currency to newly independent South Sudan.


Britain’s air force delivered 40 tonnes of Libyan dinars, printed by the company, to the country’s new rulers following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

JAN 2011

France’s Oberthur Technologies walked away from a bid for the company.


De La Rue won a 10-year contract to produce the UK passport and the Bank of England renewed the contract to print sterling.


De La Rue won the main contract to produce banknotes for Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s death.

Company signed a seven-year contract to supply sterling for the Bank of England, taking over the bank’s manufacturing operation


Jointly developed and installed the world’s first ATM outside Barclays Bank in Enfield, UK.


Marketed banknote counting machine.


Listed in London.


During World War Two, De La Rue printed currency for some occupied countries, which was hidden in a quarry until the end of the war.


China places its first order for currency.


Supplied to the Confederate States the only American stamp to be produced abroad: the Five Cents Blue.


Printed its first paper money - the Mauritius 5 pound, 1 pound and 10 shilling notes.


Founder Thomas de la Rue set up in London, making straw hats before producing stationery, playing cards, railway tickets and stamps over next decades.


Founder launched his first commercial venture, Le Miroir Politique newspaper in Guernsey.

($1 = 0.7794 pounds)

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru. Editing by Josephine Mason and Jane Merriman