StockMarketWire.com - Banknote and passport printer De La Rue suspended its dividend after swinging to a first-half loss as a plunge in its currency division and weaker margins hurt performance.

'The board has decided to suspend future dividend payments in order to manage net debt levels as one of the measures undertaken to respond to the identified material uncertainty,' De La Rue said.

For the six months ended 28 September 2019, the company reported a pre-tax loss of £12.1m compared with a profit of £7.1m a year earlier. Adjusted revenue fell 14.9%.

Adjusted profit fell 87.1% to £2.2m. The company had previously guided for adjusted profit to be in the low-to-mid single digit millions.

The company's currency division saw adjusted revenue slip 29.5% to £128.7m, blamed on 'pricing pressure' as a result of reduced overspill demand amid increased competition in the banknote print and security features markets.

'This has had a material impact on volumes and profitability in H1 2019/20 and it will also take time for the currency market to normalise,' it added.

De La Rue said its three-year cost reduction programme -- intended to deliver in excess of £20m in annual savings by full-year 2021 to 2022 -- remained on track and added that it was aiming to accelerate this programme and exceed the original savings target.

Looking to the second half of the current fiscal year, De La Rue expected to see more favourable currency volumes than in the first half, leading to full-year adjusted operating profit of between £20m and £25m.

At 8:42am: [LON:DLAR] De La Rue PLC share price was -34.6p at 140.6p

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