Pursuit of money printer steps up

Pursuit of money printer steps up

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Banknote printer De La Rue is being pursued by takeover suitor Oberthur

French takeover suitor Oberthur is preparing to step up its pursuit of banknote printer De La Rue with an improved approach this week, it has been reported.

Paris-based Oberthur is understood to have joined forces with US buyout firm Bain Capital to make a sweetened proposal for De La Rue – the world’s biggest banknote printer.

Bain is being lined up to provide finance for a new proposed offer expected at 950p a share or higher, according to The Sunday Times.

Oberthur declined to comment, but it is thought the group will make its latest move shortly after De La Rue publishes a trading statement expected this week.

Oberthur has until 5pm on February 7 to make a firm bid for De La Rue or walk away under a “put up or shut up deadline” imposed by the City takeover panel.

It first tabled a proposal at 905p a share last month, which was dismissed as being “opportunistic” by the board of De La Rue.

De La Rue’s share price has plummeted by more than a third in recent months following production problems that caused its chief executive James Hussey to resign and cost the group £35 million to date.

Oberthur has increased pressure on De La Rue since making its £900 million indicative offer, calling for a clearer picture of the production problems and full details of the issues which arose with a “principal customer”, understood to be the Reserve Bank of India.

De La Rue, which prints notes for the Bank of England and 150 other countries, said in its half-year results in November that volumes were set to drop 20% this year following the crisis, which suspended production and a shipment of the affected banknote for two months.

The impact on full-year accounts is still unknown.

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