April 23, 2018 / 6:29 AM / 10 months ago

Gemalto says post-Brexit UK passport contract will create jobs, protect data

FILE PHOTO: A British passport is pictured in front of an European Union flag in this photo illustration taken in Brussels, Belgium, June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/Illustration

PARIS (Reuters) - Franco-Dutch digital security group Gemalto (GTO.AS) said on Monday that its contract to make the new, post-Brexit British passport would create new jobs and that it would ensure citizens’ key data details are protected.

“The passports will be personalised in the UK to ensure all citizens’ personal and biometric data remains in the country,” Gemalto said in a statement.

“This process will further extend Gemalto’s presence in the UK, where it has operated for the last 25 years and create new jobs, supplementing the 500+ staff which Gemalto already employs in the UK, as well as generating secondary economic benefits in the local communities where Gemalto will be manufacturing the passports,” added the company.

The British government last week confirmed that Gemalto - which is in the process of being acquired by French group Thales (TCFP.PA) - had beaten De La Rue (DLAR.L) to make the new passports, in a contract that will run for 11-1/2 years and has a value of 260 million pounds.

Britain had also said last week that the contract award would see Gemalto add 70 more jobs to its UK workforce.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the decision to change British passports from the burgundy shade used by most European Union countries to the traditional dark blue was an expression of British independence and sovereignty.

But reports that a foreign firm had won the new passport contract led to criticism from some politicians and newspapers that the government was being unpatriotic.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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