To guarantee the smooth roll-out of its new banknote series, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) has bought a struggling paper factory in eastern Switzerland.
The takeover of Landqart AG, valued at CHF21.5 million ($21.7 million), is split between the SNB (90%) and the security printing division of Swiss publisher Orell Füssli (10%).
Landqart makes Durasafe®, the triple-layer substrate used for the new Swiss banknotes, which consist of a layer of plastic sandwiched between two layers of paper.
According to the SNB, Landqart is the only company that offers this technology. Yet the paper manufacturer, based in canton Graubünden in eastern Switzerland, is in financial trouble after losing a big international client this year. It employs about 260 people.
“The SNB has decided to acquire the company because, otherwise, issuance of the new Swiss banknote series would not have been guaranteed across the entire production stream. By taking this step, the SNB is ensuring the continued supply of cash and, hence, the fulfilment of its own statutory mandate,” the national bank said in a press releaseexternal link on Thursday.
At a press conference later on Thursday, SNB President Thomas Jordan announced that the bank planned to sell Landqart once the company was back on its feet. Meanwhile, Landqart’s management is still in place and the business model is under analysis.
“I see no conflict of interest, and we want Landqart to remain independent,” Jordan said.
The SNB has so far released the new CHF10, CHF20 and CHF50 notesexternal link. Still to come are the CHF100, CHF200 and CHF1,000.
Landqart paper is also used to make Morocco’s 25 dirham note as well as bills used in ten European Union countries.
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