British agency De La Rue to problem government on passport contract

(Reuters) – British passport-making company De La Rue Plc (DLAR.L) stated on Monday it might attraction a choice by the British government that will enable Franco-Dutch company Gemalto NV (GTO.AS) to make new blue nationwide passports from 2019.

A handout reveals the unique ‘blue’ British passport, which was subsequently changed by the burgundy EU British passport, equipped by the UK government in London, Britain, March 22, 2018. UK Government/Handout through Reuters

De La Rue’s present contract, which ends in July 2019, is value 400 million kilos ($561.96 million).

“Based on our knowledge of the market, it’s our view that ours was the highest quality and technically most secure bid,” a De La Rue spokeswoman stated in an announcement. While accepting that its tender represented a big low cost on the present worth, the company stated “we can accept that we weren’t the cheapest.”

De La Rue’s attraction to the court docket determination was first reported by the Financial Times on Monday.

When Gemalto was awarded the passport-making contract, the choice was roundly criticised, particularly from U.Okay. residents who recognised the return of blue-coloured passports as a patriotic Brexit bonus, the FT stated.

The Daily Mail newspaper led an prolonged marketing campaign towards the governmental determination and organised a petition inclusive of over 227,000 signatures, based on the FT.

On Sunday, the British Home Office prolonged the unique deadline for authorized challenges to the choice from April three to April 17 as De La Rue sought additional data from the ministry on its decision-making course of, the FT reported.

De La Rue executives, the newspaper stated, understand that Gemalto is in a beneficial place just because it has undercut its opponents.

The news produced awkward headlines for Prime Minister Theresa May, who introduced in December that Britain, which adopted burgundy passports in 1988 according to EU suggestions, would change again to the “iconic” darkish blue it had used for many years.

Britain’s largest commerce union Unite hit out on the government’s selection and stated the French government would by no means have made such a transfer.

($1 = zero.7118 kilos)

Reporting by Shalini Nagarajan in Bengaluru; modifying by Grant McCool and Diane Craft

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