De La Rue profits hit by the cost of improvement work

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Media captionGeorge Godber, Matterly Asset Management says, De La Rue could benefit from a Greek euro exit

Annual profits at banknote printer De La Rue have more than halved as a result of the cost of increased investment and restructuring work after production problems last year.

The Hampshire-based company made a pre-tax profit of £32.9m in the 12 months to 31 March, down from £72.8m a year earlier.

Its exceptional costs for the year totalled £24.8m.

De La Rue said was mainly due to the expense of its "Improvement Plan".

The plan was introduced in May 2011 following production faults, reported to be on the printing of rupees for the Indian central bank.

De La Rue's annual revenues rose 14% to £528m.

De La Rue chief executive Tim Cobbold said: "De La Rue has made good progress in the first year of the Improvement Plan, demonstrating both the fundamental strengths of the business and its capacity to improve.

"While recognising there is still much to do, I am confident that with the momentum we have established, we are on track to achieve our target of a 2013-14 operating profit in excess of £100m."

Excluding exceptional costs, De La Rue said its underlying annual pre-tax profit was up 73% to £57.7m.

De La Rue produces banknotes for more than 150 countries around the world.

It continues to refuse to comment on press speculation that it will print new drachmas for Greece should the country leave the euro.

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