Troubled banknote maker De La Rue has said demand for its currencies remains strong, even as people switch to card payments to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The company, which prints notes for the Bank of England, said it had contracts in place that would keep its currency factories working at high capacity for the rest of the year.
“In currency, De La Rue is experiencing strong demand that has continued during the Covid-19 pandemic and has been awarded contracts representing approximately 80% of its available full-year currency printing capacity,” managers said.
People around the world are opting to pay by card, especially through contactless methods when possible, to avoid handing over, and receiving, potentially contaminated cash.
Last week, PayPoint revealed that the card payments it processes had shot up by three quarters, while transactions at its cash machines fell by 40% compared with this time last year.
De La Rue’s struggling shares jumped on the news on Monday morning, as it also revealed it had not been severely hit by the pandemic.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has to date had only a limited impact on the company’s operations,” it said in a statement to shareholders.
Apart from one site in Sri Lanka, which stopped production for eight weeks, all the company’s factories have remained open throughout the pandemic.
Nor has it seen “material problems” in getting materials from suppliers.
De La Rue also revealed a new five-year contract with the Australian government to print pages for the country’s new passport.
It is a rare bit of good news for a company whose shares have plummeted 85% in just over a year.
Investors rewarded the announcement by sending shares up 40% on Monday morning.
Earlier this year, De La Rue revealed that it was expecting adjusted operating profit to be slashed by up to two thirds.
It was largely due to a drop in business in its currency arm in the first half of the financial year.
De La Rue said on Monday that it had been picked to authenticate and protect one customer’s Covid-19 testing kits that are being used around the world.
Its authentication division has won contracts worth more than £100 million so far this financial year.