French firm approaches British banknote printer De La Rue

6th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

French banknote printer and chip card maker Oberthur said Monday it had made a takeover approach to De La Rue, sending shares in its British counterpart soaring.

De La Rue's share price rocketed more than 25 percent to 813 pence in early London trade, giving the group a market capitalisation of 845 million pounds (990 million euros, 1.33 billion dollars).

In a statement earlier in London, De La Rue said it notedd "recent press speculation and confirms that it has received a highly preliminary and opportunistic approach.

"There is no certainty that this highly preliminary approach will lead to an offer. A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate."

Oberthur Technologies meanwhile said in Paris that it had approached De La Rue with an offer but was not sure it would make a formal bid given that a November 10 proposal at 905 pence per share had been rejected.

The French company said De La Rue turned down the offer as undervaluing its business and its potential but added that it hoped it would reach an agreement to everyone's benefit eventually -- although this outcome was not assured.

De La Rue, whose history dates to 1813, is the world's largest printer of banknotes and produces currencies for more than 150 countries across the world.

The company, which employs around 4,000 staff in 24 nations, has struggled to overcome the impact of paper production irregularities that hit the company earlier this year.

© 2010 AFP

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