Gamekeeper Turns Poacher

by Jeremy Plimmer

De La Rue

Posted on Sunday, June 5, 2011


It has not been a good week for security printer De La Rue. After a long skirmish at the beginning of the year when the Company was in the process of repulsing the hostile advances of their competitor Oberthur, shares dipped again on the news that the French currency and passport producer had no intention of re-bidding for the UK security business.

Oberthur is cash rich at present since relinquishing its card production division and that fueled the fires of rumor that the income received from the transaction would part fill the pot for another pop at De La Rue.

“Following recent press and analyst speculation, we want to clarify, without any reservation, that we have no intention of making an offer for De La Rue,” Oberthur chief executive Thomas Savarre commented.

No sooner had this been reported than news surfaced that the Saverre family, who own the French printer, had acquired the services of James Hussey. Hussey, highly respected in the industry, and previously CEO at De la Rue before he fell on his sword after production difficulties caused a former share price slide at De La Rue last Summer, is rumored to become a ‘special adviser’ to the Oberthur court.

It has really been an annus horribilis for the producer of the UK Passports and manager of the Bank of England print works.

The question now is this; With James Hussey in the French camp how long will it be before his contacts, knowledge and experience start to pay off and will this cause a price war between the two adversaries in this previously profitable market sector?

About Jeremy Plimmer

Jeremy Plimmer has 35 years of experience in the security related print and packaging industry working originally as sales development director for manufacturers of passports, high security print and labels and more recently as a consultant. He is a graduate member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Fellow of the Institute of Minerals, Materials and Mining, chairman of the West Midlands Packaging Society as well as vice chairman of the East Midlands Packaging Society.

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About the foundation

The Product & Image Security Foundation is a non-profit making trade association which was originally formed under the name of Label & Tag Security International (LTSI) in the early 1990's.

Today it operates with more than 100 members in 27 countries and is the premier international forum for manufacturers, suppliers and users of labels, tags, packaging, identification systems, materials and systems for any form of product security, brand image protection or product traceability applications and technology.