It has been 18 months since we last looked at shares in this money printer. Back in September 2012, they cost 1,050p each and looked expensive on over 18 times forecast earnings too punchy for us.
The company was battling against too much capacity in the paper banknote market, which had squeezed its selling prices. Shareholders were to be kept happy with a big cost-cutting plan that was expected to take trading profits from £60m to £100m in just over two years.
A lot has happened since then. The firm will fail to hit its £100m target it will be nearer to £90m instead after issuing two profit warnings.
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On top of that, the chief executive decided to jump ship. CEOs have developed a canny knack in recent years of getting out when there's nothing more to gain. Investors are right to be cynical. So it's no surprise thatDe La Rue's (LSE: DLAR)shares have fallen back.
However, although times are tough for the company, it is still the world leader in printing bank notes and has good potential for profiting from the introduction of plastic ones. It could also go on to create a decent business with passports, although this is taking some time to develop.
In 2010, French firm OberthurTechnologies failed with a 905p pershare bid for De La Rue. While no-one iscurrently predicting that it'll return soonfor another go, when industries havetoo much capacity one of the ways ofdealing with it is through mergers andcost cutting. This can help prices andprofits for those companies that remain.
Verdict: a speculative buy
Phil spent 13 years as an investment analyst for both stockbroking and fund management companies.
After graduating with a MSc in International Banking, Economics & Finance from Liverpool Business School in 1996, Phil went to work for BWD Rensburg, a Liverpool based investment manager. In 2001, he joined ABN AMRO as a transport analyst. After a brief spell as a food retail analyst, he spent five years with ABN's very successful UK Smaller Companies team where he covered engineering, transport and support services stocks.
In 2007, Phil joined Halbis Capital Management as a European equities analyst. He began writing for Moneyweek in 2010.
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