Wednesday 27 November 2019

More woes for De La Rue.

It was four years ago that we reported that De La Rue intended to switch the printing of stamps from Gateshead to Malta, with bank-note printing moving in the other direction.

At the time it was thought that DLR only printed stamps for Royal Mail, who weren't aware of this move at the time.  There was speculation that when the stamp-printing contract was up for retendering, Royal Mail would aim to keep definitive printing in the UK, with special stamps being printed by Cartor.  As we all know with few exceptions all UK stamps are now printed by International Security Printers (ISP) in Wolverhampton and France.

Since then DLR has lost the contract for printing the bulk of UK passport blanks and, according to a BBC report, the company has now issued a warning that 
on a worst-case scenario, there was "a material uncertainty that casts significant doubt on the group's ability to operate as a going concern".
The BBC suggests that in the event of collapse "it is likely that a rival would take over its Bank of England contract. Its main competitors are all based outside the UK."

De La Rue prints banknotes for worldwide clients, including all Bank of England banknotes at Debden in Essex, and still produces revenue stamps.  It remains to be seen whether they will ever return to printing any of the United Kingdom's postage stamps.


  1. DLR operate the Bank of England’s Debden Essex site under contract to the Bank of England to produce both domestic and foreign bank notes (for those countries for who the Bank of England/Royal Mint produce currency) (

    1. Thank you, I did have that in an early draft but was interrupted and it got omitted.

  2. Looks like their plan to relocate production has had an impact ‘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’

    I wonder if they thought that they could move the BoE work from the BoE’s plant at Debden to Gateshead and found that they could not.

    If DLR were to go to the wall, then the Bank of England would simply resume in-house production, as opposed to the current management contract, either permanently or until a new contractor could be appointed. The only thing that is certain is that Debden will continue to print our bank notes.

    As for DLR, give that they took over companies who they considered to have taken business away from them (Harrisons & Sons, Bradbury and Wilkinson, Waterlow, & Questa), and don’t appear to have understood why they lost contract and continue to loose work, then in a market economy there is only one way to go.


Thank you for reading the blog and commenting: please use an identity (name or pseudonym) rather than being Anonymous; it helps us to know which 'anonymous' comments are from the same person to avoid confusion. Comments are moderated to avoid spam, but will be published as soon as possible.