London-listed activist investor Crystal Amber has begun to build a stake in De La Rue, the banknote manufacturer embroiled in a row over the production of new UK passports.
Crystal Amber, in which Neil Woodfords funds own a significant stake, has acquired roughly two per cent of De La Rue already and intends to build this over coming weeks, according to reports on Sky News.
Sources have said the activist has already had preliminary discussions with De La Rue, which is currently appealing the governments decision to award a contract for new blue UK passport production to Franco-Dutch rival Gemalto.
The company also lost its chief financial officer, Jitesh Sodha, in March as it revealed full-year results would be at the lower end of expectations.
De La Rues shares took a battering after the warning, dropping almost 14 per cent as Sodha departed.
They had plummeted another 8.7 per cent by the time the company confirmed it had lost the passport contract.
De La Rue has been given two weeks to gather information to help it overturn the governments choice.
Crystal Amber had previously made headlines targeting companies such as Thornton's, where it helped coordinate the takeover by Ferrero, and Aer Lingus, where it did a similar job when the firm was approached by IAG.