Passport printer De La Rue in talks over UK ‘Covid-19 passport’

Graeme Evans
·1-min read
<p>Documents could potentially enable people to show they do not have Covid-19</p> (PA)

Documents could potentially enable people to show they do not have Covid-19

(PA)

Passport maker De La Rue is working on plans to develop Covid-19 immunity certificates.

Clive Vacher, the Essex-based firm's chief executive, said discussions with governments and private companies about the use of its technology were at a very early stage.

Documents incorporating security stamp technology could potentially enable people to show they do not have Covid-19 and are able to travel overseas, for example.

De La Rue's authentication arm already provides tax stamps and track-and-trace solutions for tobacco and alcohol markets.

While Covid-19 has made many Britons wary about using banknotes, De La Rue said its currency printing division was running at full capacity.

Vacher said this reflected strong global demand due to population growth and the role of banknotes as symbols of national identity.

De Le Rue recently extended its contract with the Bank of England to 2028, including a new £50 banknote due for release next year.

The transition from paper notes is a huge part of the company's strategy, with only 3% of the world's banknotes by volume and 12% by denomination currently on polymer.

Turnaround specialist Vacher continues to show progress after being brought in following the loss of the company's contract to print British passports.

Vacher said there had been “substantial improvement” in De La Rue's half-year results, with operating profits of £15.3 million much higher than £2.2 million a year earlier. Net debt has also reduced to £21.6 million from £170.7 million.

Shares have been at their highest level in more than a year, although they fell 2% today.