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.