Crane Currency, supplier of paper to BEP, is sold for $800 million

One of the largest firms in paper currency development and production gets new owner
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 12/09/17
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Crane Currency, the firm that has been supplying the cotton-linen paper used in American paper currency for close to 140 years, has been sold for $800 million. 

The buyer, coincidentally, is Crane Co. of Stamford, Connecticut, a firm that describes itself as a diversified manufacturer of highly engineered industrial products, and which has no prior relationship with Crane Currency. They were both founded by unrelated men named Crane. 

The deal is subject to the standard legal and regulatory approvals.

Crane Currency was founded in 1801 in Dalton, Massachusetts, as an operator of New England paper mills. 

Crane Co. started as a foundry business in Chicago in 1855. Today, Crane Co. has 11,000 employees in diversified industries in 150 locations. 

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Crane Currency, with 1,100 employees, has transformed itself over the past 15 years from a company that concentrated on paper manufacturing to one playing a leading role in the areas of micro-optics, security, bank note design and printing. Its sales for 2017 are projected at about $500 million, resulting in earnings of $94 million before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization. 

In addition to its headquarters in Boston and plants in Dalton and Pittsfield, Crane Currency operates a major printing plant in Tumba, Sweden, that it purchased from that nation’s central bank, and is currently building a $100 million bank note printing plant in Malta.

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Crane Currency’s sales are now one-third in the United States and two-thirds international, an arena it did not enter until 2004. It calls itself the second largest player in its market (De La Rue is the leader), and it projects to be worth $4.4 billion, divided into the following segments: bank note printing, $1.5 billion; bill and coin validation, $1.1 billion, currency security features, $1 billion; and currency substrate production, $0.8 billion. Despite all the talk of an oncoming cashless economy, the company says the issuance of bank notes will increase globally at a rate of 4.5 percent per annum.

The concentration on security appears to be paying off, as demand for higher level security features is being extended to more denominations and is becoming a larger part of total spending on bank notes. The firm claims to be the global leader in micro-optic security, whether that is built into the substrate or added at printing. Its latest innovation in the area was November’s Kyrgyz Republic 2,000-som commemorative note, with a “Motion Surface” technology that includes elements that shimmer, flicker, slide and appear to sit either on top of the note or below its surface.

Crane Currency also says that its substrates have never been successfully counterfeited. 

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