Banknote printer De La Rue rejects improved bid

24th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

British banknote printer De La Rue on Monday said it had rejected an improved takeover offer from French chip card maker Oberthur worth around 925 million pounds (1.08 billion euros, $1.48 billion).

The world's largest printer of banknotes said it had received an informal bid worth "935 pence per De La Rue share," which compared with an offer of 905 pence last month that valued the group at around 900 million euros.

"The Board has carefully considered Oberthur's revised proposal and believes that it continues to significantly undervalue the Company and its prospects," De La Rue chairman Nicholas Brookes said in a statement.

"The Board therefore unanimously rejected this latest approach."

Earlier this month, Britain's Takeover Panel ordered Oberthur to make an official offer for De La Rue by February 7 in a 'put up or shut up' ultimatum aimed a removing uncertainty from the market.

Should Oberthur decide against a formal offer, the group would be unable to bid again for six months under British takeover rules.

De La Rue, which employs 4,000 staff across 24 countries, has struggled to overcome the impact of banknote production irregularities that hit the company in 2010.

Tim Cobbold took over as De La Rue chief executive on January 1. Cobbold, a former chief executive of British power systems group Chloride, replaced James Hussey, who resigned in August after De La Rue revealed the output failures.

"With the recent appointment of Tim Cobbold to lead a restructured and strengthened management team, the Board is confident that De La Rue has a promising future as an independent company," Brookes added on Monday.

De La Rue, whose history dates to 1813, produces currencies for more than 150 countries.

© 2011 AFP

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