RBA to sell interest in Securency
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SYDNEY, Feb 12 AAP
February 12 2013, 3:30PM
The Reserve Bank of Australia has finally found a buyer for its stake in banknote firm Securency, as a review finds flaws in its oversight of the business in the lead up to a bribery scandal.
The RBA on Tuesday announced it would sell its remaining 50 per cent stake in Securency to its joint partner in the business, Innovia Films, for $65 million.
Securency was set up by the RBA in 1996 with its then partner UCB Films PLC to export the polymer banknotes the central bank had developed to other countries.
The RBA announced its intention to sell its stake in Securency in 2010.
Innovia Films CEO David Beeby said the central bank had always intended to part with its stake at some point.
"The RBA has been an outstanding and committed partner in this joint venture," he said in a statement.
"It has always been their clearly stated policy to grow the business to the point where it would be divested once it held a strong position in the market, and that time has certainly arrived."
The RBA will retain its ownership of Note-Printing Australia (NPA), which prints Australia's banknotes and NPA will now enter into a long term contract with Securency for the supply of polymer banknote substrates.
The central bank has faced criticism over its supervision of both NPA and Securency after agents from both firms were charged with bribing officials in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Nepal to secure contracts for the sale of the polymer-note technology.
On Tuesday the RBA released a review which found that, though its response to problems within both firms was appropriate, the oversight applied to the companies could have been improved.
"Clearly, with the benefit of hindsight, there could have been more oversight applied to the activities of the two companies, which may have detected earlier the alleged illegal payments, but that does not mean the Bank's oversight was inappropriate," the review commissioned by the RBA and carried out by consultancy firm Cameron Ralph, said.
By Evan Schwarten