De La Rue profit hit as drops blue British passport bid

The new UK passport will be made by a Franco Dutch firm

The new UK passport will be made by a Franco Dutch firm

British printing company De La Rue has abandoned its plans to fight the Government in court over the loss of a £490m contract to print United Kingdom passports, calling it the "sensible and pragmatic" thing to do.

Last month it was announced that the company will not design and produce the United Kingdom passport when its existing contract expires in July 2019.

The company had urged the Home Office for an extension to the deadline for awarding the contract after it emerged the frontrunner for the job was Gemalto, a Franco-Dutch firm.

"For the last decade De La Rue has produced the UK's passports securely without any problems and provided a source of decent well paid jobs in the North-East".

The Tory party and Leavers had trumpeted the fact that Britain could return to using blue passports, replacing the European Union burgundy-coloured ones, after the United Kingdom leaves the bloc next March.

But he told the BBC's Today programme that the firm had now reconsidered.

That appeal process ended at midnight on Tuesday.

"We've done our homework, we've taken legal advice, we've looked at, frankly, the likelihood of overturning the decision and the sensible thing for us to do is to refocus our efforts elsewhere and to move forward".

The firm added: "De La Rue will continue to fulfil its existing contract and assist with transition to the new supplier and is therefore expecting no impact on the group's performance in the next 18 months".

Media captionDe la Rue boss Martin Sutherland claimed: "It is surprising the British government does not support British industry".

"De La Rue is a great British company with a strong heritage and trust is a key element, but it's now made itself incredibly vulnerable to overseas predators", said City veteran Richard Bernstein, Crystal Amber's head.

For the second time in one month De La Rue also warned its profits for the year would be lower, sending its shares down 6pc to 462p in early trade.

The figure reflects the write-off of £4m related to the United Kingdom passport tender and delays in the shipment of certain contracts in the last week of the financial period.

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