De Beers says fourth cycle sales fall on “quieter” Indian trade

Al Cook, CEO, De Beers

DE BEERS reported a decline in fourth cycle sales year-on-year partly owing to seasonal factors and elections in India where trade was “quieter”.

Sales were estimated at $380m for the cycle which compares to $479m for the fourth cycle last year. Confirmed sales for the preceding third cycle were $446m, said De Beers.

“As expected, De Beers’ rough diamond sales in the fourth cycle of the year trended lower, in line with the seasonally slower second quarter and a quieter period of trading in India during the elections,” said Al Cook, CEO of De Beers.

He said the industry’s focus now turned to the JCK jewellery show in Las Vegas at the end of this month. “Demand trends in the US are expected to be driven by short term macroeconomic issues but supported in coming years by a recovery in engagements as the after-effects of pandemic lockdowns fade,” he added.

The underwhelming numbers come at a potentially momentous time for the diamond miner and marketer at its 85% shareholder Anglo American is facing a takeover from BHP.

BHP has said in its proposals – which have been rejected by Anglo so far – that it would retain De Beers until after a review of the business.

Following its own strategic review, Anglo American said it intended to sell De Beers in the first instance, or opt for a demerger of the business. Anglo has agreed to hold talks with BHP in order to find an appropriate takeover structure criticised by the group as it stands at present as being sub-optimal.

BHP wants to unbundle Anglo’s shares in Anglo American Platinum and Kumba Iron Ore before embarking on the takeover of Anglo. The process could take two years whereas Anglo’s restructuring would take 18 months, according to Anglo CEO Duncan Wanblad.