Paper Money

Sweden's notes get new printer

When Crane breached its contract with Sweden by moving printing to Malta, the agreement was canceled. Sveriges Riksbank has now signed a three-year agreement with De La Rue to print its notes, although in the United Kingdom.

Images courtesy of Sveriges Riksbank.

When Crane Currency, the company printing Sweden’s paper money, announced last May that it was shuttering its plant in that country and would transfer all production from there to a new facility in Malta, officials at Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, were not too happy. In 2002, when the bank sold its printing facility in Tumba to the Massachusetts-based company the sale included the proviso that Crane would continue to print Swedish bank notes in Sweden.

Riksbank officials said on June 19 that since Crane acted in breach of its contract, the agreement was canceled and that a search for a new supplier would begin immediately.

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The search is now over. The bank announced that it has signed a three-year agreement with the British company De La Rue to take over the printing task — not in Sweden, however, but in the United Kingdom. Riksbank now says that according to its requirements, “the notes must be printed in northern or central Europe.”

It is possible that this will not the most lucrative of De La Rue’s contracts. Sweden allows businesses to refuse to accept cash, many banks no longer deal with it at the retail level, and reportedly only 2,850 ATMs operate in the entire country, a reduction of 17 percent since 2002, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

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