Gateshead's De La Rue will not appeal United Kingdom passport contract

Frederick Owens
April 19, 2018

A Franco-Dutch company on Wednesday won a contract to make British passports after the country leaves in the European Union, in a blow for Brexit campaigners.

The Unite union - which came out in support of De La Rue's earlier announcement that it meant to mount an appeal - said the latest decision would "come as a bitter blow to De La Rue workers who now face an uncertain future".

But the British firm said on Wednesday it would not appeal the government's decision to pick Gemalto and vowed to "assist with transition to the new supplier".

The Passport Office said the contract would extend Gemalto's presence in the United Kingdom and add about 70 jobs to its existing workforce in the country.

The current burgundy passports, which have been issued for the last 30 years, will become blue and gold from October 2019.

Britain's interior ministry said earlier this month that it had extended the bidding process by two weeks amid the backlash and following a request from De La Rue.

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

"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".

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"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.

It said that having considered all options it would not appeal the decision, which the British government said followed a "rigorous, fair and open competition".

He added: "We remain both surprised and disappointed by the decision of HMPO to award the contract to a competitor".

De La Rue has held the contract to manufacture British passports since 2009.

The company makes British passports at its Gateshead factory, where it employs around 600 people.

Full-year operating profit will fall short of £70.2m in operating income for the previous 12 months.

Shares in De La Rue dropped 4% as it also warned over profits for the second time in a month, blaming the £4 million in bid costs for the contract.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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