Markets are worried about potential kinks in interbank lending markets. Businesses continue to bemoan a lack of credit. Consumers are reluctant to spend hard-earned cash. Against this backdrop, it would seem odd that De La Rue, the world’s largest commercial currency printer, cited “strong demand” when presenting its latest financial results.

For the year to March, De La Rue generated only a 1% rise in pre-tax profits, it reported today, but this masked a robust performance by the group’s currency division. The British firm’s banknote-printing unit boosted its operating profit by 15%, thanks to central banks introducing higher-security designs (a margin booster), changes in denominations and revamping policies on “note cleanliness,” the company said.

There are some 120bn banknotes in circulation worldwide, with around 15% produced by private companies like De La Rue that can boast, both literally and figuratively, that they print money.