As Greece’s fate in the euro zone nears a critical moment this Sunday, it’s hard to see how anyone could benefit from a break up of the world’s largest currency union.
But a British company has seen its shares hit a 52-week high on speculation that the results of the Greek election will bring an end to the country’s austerity measures and push it out of the euro zone.
De La Rue plc is the world’s largest integrated commercial security printer and papermaker. It designs and manufacturers more than 150 national currencies as well as security documents such as passports and driver licences.
De La Rue’s performance sagged last year after the company lost its largest customer, the Reserve Bank of India. But its fortunes have been looking up with rumours circulating that the company has been printing drachma for the Greek government in case the country is forced out of the euro zone after the elections next week.
Reuters reported last month that the company had drawn up contingency plans to print drachmas. The company would not comment on the report.
The same day, the Daily Telegraph fed the rumour mill with its own piece, speculating that Greece was responsible for a recently announced rise in De La Rue’s order book. Harry Wallop, the paper’s retail editor, reported that it takes six months between an initial order being placed by a central bank or government, and the notes being delivered.
The shares have been climbing gradually since the reports first emerged.
If De La Rue does in fact have the contract to print drachma, let’s hope the company got payment up front, in euros.