De La Rue

De La Rue
De La Rue plc
Type Public (LSEDLAR)
Industry Printing
Founded 1821
Headquarters Basingstoke, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Key people Nicholas Brookes, Chairman
No CEO (position vacant)
Revenue £561.1 million (2010)[1]
Operating income £101.7 million (2010)[1]
Net income £70.4 million (2010)[1]

De La Rue plc (LSEDLAR) (play /ˈdɛlə r/ or US /ˌdɛlə ˈr/) is a British security printing, papermaking and cash handling systems company headquartered in Basingstoke, Hampshire. It also has a factory on the Team Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead, and other facilities at Loughton, Essex and Bathford, Somerset.[2] It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.



The Company was founded by Thomas de la Rue who moved to London in 1821 and set up in business as a stationer and printer.[3] Working as a "boy of the streets", in 1831 his business secured a Royal Warrant to produce playing cards, in 1855 it started printing postage stamps and in 1860 it began printing banknotes.[3] In 1896, the family partnership was converted to a private company.[3]

In 1921, the de la Rue family sold their interests.[3] It was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1947.[3] The Company, then called Thomas De La Rue & Company, Limited, changed its name in 1958 to The De La Rue Company Limited.[3] A takeover bid for De La Rue was made by the Rank Organisation plc in 1968 but this was rejected by the Monopolies commission as being against the public interest.[4] In 1991 the company’s name was changed again - this time to De La Rue plc.[3]

In 1997 De La Rue acquired Harrison and Sons, the stamp and banknote printers, based in High Wycombe. Harrisons had made significant inroads into De La Rue's banknote printing operations.

In 2003 the Company acquired the Debden based banknote printing operations of the Bank of England.[5]

The Debden Security Printing Ltd printing facility, owned by De La Rue, which prints Bank of England banknotes.

The company was recognized by Hermann Simon as a role model for other small to medium sized business in his book Hidden Champions.[6]



De La Rue sells high-security paper and printing technology for over 150 national currencies. They claim to be the largest such corporation in the world.

De la Rue makes paper and prints banknotes for many banks worldwide, including:

Security printing and papermaking

De La Rue also produces a wide range of other secure documents, including:

Cash handling equipment

De La Rue manufactures a range of machines to manage cash including banknote counters, banknote sorters, coin sorters, ATMs, and ticket dispensers. In September 2008, the majority of the cash handling division of De La Rue was the subject of a Carlyle Group-backed management buy-out (MBO) and renamed Talaris. Only the banknote sorter part of the business remained within the De La Rue group.

Other activities

De La Rue also produces holograms, as found on credit cards, banknotes and other secure documents.

Past products

King of Diamonds from a De La Rue deck c. 1860

Playing cards

In 1843 De La Rue established its first overseas trade, as de la Rue's brother Paul travelled to Russia to advise on the making of playing cards. Thomas de la Rue's designs for playing cards are the basis for the modern standard design. The playing card business was sold to John Waddington in 1969.

Cape of Good Hope – Triangular postage stamp

Postage stamps

The company has also printed postage stamps for the United Kingdom and some of its colonies. Some famous stamps such as the Cape of Good Hope triangulars were printed by De La Rue & Co. after Perkins Bacon fell out of grace with the postal authorities of the time. The first 50 years of postage stamp production were chronicled in John Easton's "The De La Rue History of British and Foreign Postage Stamps 1855-1901".

Writing instruments

De La Rue claims to have developed the first practical fountain pen in 1881. De La Rue was a leading manufacture of fountain pens in Britain. Products were marketed under the "Onoto" brand. Production of fountain pens by De La Rue ceased in Britain in 1958 but continued for a few more years in Australia.

Board Games

During the 1930s De La Rue created a number of board games. These included a cricket game, Stumpz, which was produced in a number of different editions, and Round The Horn, a game which re-created the then annual race of grain-laden, square-rigged sailing cargo ships from Australia to London. The games consisted of high quality components and used playing cards as part of the component set.

See Also


  1. ^ a b c Annual Report 2010
  2. ^ a b "How did Libyan money come to be printed in Britain?". BBC. Retrieved 2011-09-02. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g De La Rue History
  4. ^ Competition Commission Reports
  5. ^ Bank of England: Sale of Bank Note Printing Operations
  6. ^ Simon, Hermann: Hidden Champions of the 21st Century : Success Strategies of unknown World Market Leaders. London: Springer, 2009.- ISBN 978-0-387-98147-5.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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