De La Rue stands ready to revive the drachma

Banknote printer De La Rue toasted a 73 per cent rise in profits yesterday amid reports it is preparing to start making drachmas in case Greece crashes out of the eurozone.

The firm, which prints notes for the Bank of England and 150 other countries, said underlying profits rose to £57.7m in the year to the end of March as it benefited from a recovery plan.

Orders at its currency business were up 18 per cent to £183m although it warned the market is becoming more competitive as rivals add additional capacity.

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There is speculation that De La Rue could benefit from a potential Greek exit from the euro.

The company is reported to be preparing to print an alternative Greek currency, and has retrieved old moulds of drachma notes.

Chief executive Tim Cobbold said: “We’ve been far more successful in the marketplace than in the past few years – of all the notes issued in 2011, we designed one in two, right across the world.”