Briefing

Ottawa firm that prints currency gets $40 million from federal government’s Strategic Innovation Fund

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CBN Nano Technologies, a division of Canadian Bank Note, will use the money to develop new manufacturing technology that can be used for security features like embedding nanomaterials in bills to make it easier to spot counterfeits. The company is putting up $180 million for the project, and will add 469 new recruits to its workforce of 1,600. It currently designs and manufactures bills for the Bank of Canada. (Ottawa Citizen)

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Talking point: Canadian consumers used cash for 19 per cent fewer transactions in 2017 than in 2012, according to Payments Canada. But Canadian Bank Note is the only domestic currency printer, and has built up a large export business with contracts in 30 foreign countries, including New Zealand. CBN Nano Technologies—which has eight patents for advanced chemical manufacturing—could also apply the new features it develops to its parent company’s other businesses, like making passports and national identity cards for governments. Other Canadian financial-instrument companies have struggled to adapt to find new revenue sources as traditional ones decline. Toronto-headquartered D+H, which printed and processed cheques for banks, spent more than $2.4 billion to buy payment-technology companies between 2006 and 2015. But it was acquired by Vista Equity Partners, a U.S. private equity firm, for $4.8 billion in March 2017, after its stock price halved on poor earnings and high debt in the last six months of 2016.