British passport printer De La Rue drops 6% on UK contract miss

Shares in Britain’s De La Rue, printer of banknotes and official ID, have dropped by 6% after the company missed out to a French rival on the contract to print the UK’s new post-Brexit blue passports.

The company said it was “disappointed” by the decision and might appeal against it.

The project to revive the old-fashioned blue-black passports has been billed by the Home Office as an effort to “restore our national identity” with the “iconic” older design.

Former cabinet minister Priti Patel, a prominent Brexit backer, told the Sun the decision to pass over a British supplier was “disgraceful” and “perverse”.

But De La Rue was beaten in the tender process. In its statement on Thursday, it said:

De La Rue has worked closely with [the passport office] over the last nine years, designing and producing the UK passport and establishing it as one of the most secure passports in the world. The current ten-year contract has a total value of c£400m. Today’s decision is expected to have no impact on the performance of current and next financial year.

Thursday’s share price decline builds on a tough week for the company’s shares, which fell by 14 per cent on Tuesday after it said profits would be around the lower end of expectations and its chief financial officer would depart later this year.

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