UPDATE 1-G4S and France's Oberthur bid for BoE banknote contract - source
By Neil Maidment
LONDON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - G4S, the world's biggest security firm, will team up with French group Oberthur Technologies to bid for a 1 billion pound ($1.61 billion) contract to supply Britain's next wave of banknotes, a source familiar with the situation said.
The Bank of England has invited bids for a new 10-year contract to produce all its banknotes, which for the first time could come in plastic form if the plans are given public backing in December.
A source told Reuters that G4S, the group that drew fierce criticism last year for failing to provide enough security guards for the London Olympics, would provide services like cash handling and security alongside Oberthur's printing expertise.
G4S, which as well as cash transportation for banks and retailers runs services like prisons and immigration centres in some 125 countries, declined to comment.
Smartcard maker Oberthur could not be reached for comment and the Bank of England would not comment on the bid process.
The contract is due to start in April 2015 and includes the option of a three-year extension.
British firm De La Rue, which has held the contract since 2003, is rebidding for the contract. Media reports have said other bidders could include Munich-based Giesecke & Devrient, Landqart - the bank note division of Canadian firm Fortress Paper, and UK-based Innovia Security. Continued...