In order for the Hong Kong Government to be more closely involved in production of Hong Kong dollar currency notes, an agreement was reached with Thomas De La Rue plc (DLR) in January 1996 to purchase its note printing plant in Tai Po. Established in 1984, this plant has been producing Hong Kong dollar currency notes for the note-issuing banks (NIBs): The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited and Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited. The plant was renamed 'Hong Kong Note Printing Limited' (HKNPL) in April 1996 upon completion of the purchase.
With the aim of strengthening its shareholder base, tapping the best technical know-how in the highly specialised business of security printing and enhancing business opportunities both within and outside Hong Kong, the Government entered into agreements to sell 15% of the issued share capital of HKNPL in March 1997 to China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation (CBPMC) and 10% to each of the three NIBs in October 1997. As a result, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, through the Exchange Fund, continues to exercise management control and maintains a 55% majority shareholding in HKNPL.
The banknote printing plant was set up by Thomas De La Rue plc in Tai Po, Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Government purchased the existing factory, machinery and equipment through the Exchange Fund, and operated it under the name of Hong Kong Note Printing Limited.
The Hong Kong Government sold 15% of the Company's issued share capital to China Banknote Printing & Minting Corporation.
The Hong Kong Government sold 10% of the Company's issued share capital to each of the three note-issuing banks in Hong Kong (total 30%), namely The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited and Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited.
The Hong Kong Note Printing Limited's principal business is still to print Hong Kong dollar banknotes for the three note-issuing banks. Annual production volume exceeds 320 million banknotes. In addition, the Company prints small quantities of banknotes for Banco Nacional Ultramarino of Macao and endpaper of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Macao passports.