De La Rue challenged over India deal

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The Independent Online

Oberthur Technologies called on De La Rue last night to tell investors whether or not it recently lost out on a contract to supply currency paper to the Reserve Bank of India, the central bank believed to be the main international customer of the banknote printer's currency business.

The French group, whose £895m takeover proposal was spurned by De La Rue last month, said it had factored in the risks to the relationship between the printer and the RBI when making its approach.

Without naming the RBI, the UK group, which warned on profits after being hit by production issues in 2010, has admitted uncertainty regarding its position in relation to "one principal customer".

Oberthur yesterday said that it believed the client was the Indian central bank, and that it had reason to believe De La Rue had lost out on a recent RBI tender to supply 16,000 tons of currency paper.

The contract, the French group claimed, had instead gone to "four competitors.

De La Rue denied the claim yesterday, though it said uncertainty over a key customer – presumably the Indian national bank – had not yet been resolved.