The tax regimes in the four major diamond midstream trading centers - Antwerp, India, Dubai and Israel - have been the topic of great discussion and significant change in recent years. The beginning of this year saw the tax policies in both Belgium (Antwerp) and Israel (Tel Aviv) change. These countries levied a minimum tax on diamond companies, which was levied as a percentage of the turnover. While this was termed as a “turnover-based tax”, it was never truly a turnover-based tax.
Bain & Company, together with the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), has published their seventh annual report on the global diamond industry, "The enduring story in a changing world", covering industry developments in 2016 and the first half of 2017 as well as the challenges the industry faces and how it is turning them into opportunities. Their report looks at key issues along the value chain, from rough-diamond production and sales, to midstream performance and global diamond jewelry demand in major markets.
Moda Operandi, the American online luxury retailer originally founded in 2011 as a platform to provide consumers access to full collections straight from the runway, has just received a brand-new influx of cash. Billionaire entrepreneur and executive director of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Adrian Cheng and Apax Digital co-led its latest round of funding, which totals a massive $165 million in growth capital. That number doubles Moda Operandi's total funding, which had reached more than $130 million as of its Series E round in February 2015.
According to figures released by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the Antwerp diamond trade experienced an increase in activity nearly across the board in November comparatively, likely tied to events in India and U.A.E. The volume of rough diamond exports surged by 107% compared to October and 142% year-on-year, reaching 14.6 million carats during the month. The value of those rough exports also spiked by 55% compared to last month and 22% year-on-year, achieving $1.28 billion.
ABN AMRO announced on November 30 that Diamond & Jewellery Clients (D&JC) will become part of Trade & Commodity Finance (TCF) within ABN AMRO’s Commercial & Institutional Banking business. It also announced that Geert van Reisen has been appointed interim Global Head of Diamond & Jewellery Clients, until all internal formalities have been arranged, with effect from 1 December 2017. Geert van Reisen takes over from Erik Jens who has decided to pursue his career outside the bank.
Tiffany & Co. saw its worldwide net sales increase 3% to $976 million in the third quarter for the three months ended October 31, 2017, while comparable store sales declined 1%. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, their comps held steady. Their net earnings increased 5% to $100 million from $95 million. The uptick in net sales was driven by a 15% rise in the Asia-Pacific region, to $283 million, as strong growth in mainland China contrasted with declines in most other countries, which the jeweler attributed largely to lower Chinese tourist spending.
In the midst of a five-day Belgian State visit to India, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) - umbrella organization for the Antwerp diamond industry - joined hands with its Indian counterpart, the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), to host a roundtable discussion today (Nov. 9) in Mumbai concerning the contributions of the diamond industry to social and economic development.
The Antwerp diamond industry had a solid month of trading in October, particularly on the export side, as the value of rough and polished exports both took a turn for the better despite soft midstream demand for rough and a seasonally slow polished landscape. Furthermore, according to figures published by the AWDC, the trend of high volumes of low-value rough exports abated for the first time in months, as the increase in the value of rough exports (+15%) nearly kept pace with the increase in volume (+19%) on a year-over-year basis.
Dominion Diamond Corporation and The Washington Companies yesterday announced the completion of the latter's takeover of the Canadian diamond miner, officially acquiring all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Dominion for US$14.25 per share in cash. In total it amounted to a $1.2 billion acquisition. Dominion will operate as a standalone, private company, and Patrick Evans has been appointed Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.
According to Rapaport News, based on figures from the Ministry of Economy and Industry, Israel's diamond trade as a whole has slowed in 2017, as exports of polished diamonds to the US, Israel’s largest market, declined 15% to $1.26 billion during the nine-month period. Exports to Hong Kong are also down, but only by 3% to $1.01 billion. Rapaport writes: "The country’s exports of polished diamonds fell 12% year on year to $3.38 billion during the first nine months of 2017, while the volume of goods sent out dropped 11% to 1.297 million carats.
Petra Diamonds Ltd., the London-based diamond miner with five mining operations in South Africa and Tanzania, has reported that Q1 FY 2018 (for the period from July 1 to Oct. 20 2017, covering production and sales from July 1 to Sept. 30 2017) production was down 4% to 1,053,817 carats (Q1 FY 2017: 1,097,523 carats) mainly due to a planned reduction in tailings production at Finsch and Kimberley Ekapa Mining Joint Venture (“KEM JV”).
With the Antwerp diamond industry facing a host of challenges, and developing multiple initiatives, when it comes to financing, it appears that one bank recognizes an opportunity. Avi Krawitz of Rapaport News today reported that the National Bank of Fujairah (NBF) from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is planning to open a representative office in Antwerp. Davy Blommaert, head of diamond lending at NBF, told Rapaport News on the sidelines of the Dubai Diamond Conference, “I’ve been pushing for the move for a long time because there’s an opportunity to cherry-pick some clients.”
The Bureau d'Évaluation et de Contrôle de Diamant et d'Or (BECDOR) in the Central African Republic, which oversees the country’s production and trade of diamond and gold, maintains a database and assesses the value of diamond parcels that are to be exported from the country, has just set up a new price list - defining mineral prices between government and traders. The new price list for these mineral resources is designed to enable the State to have enough financial resources to meet its obligations, reports APA News (Agence de Presse Africaine).
The International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR), part of De Beers Group, today announced it will provide diamond verification services to Singapore Diamond Mint Company’s (SDM) new investment-grade diamond product, Diamond Bullion, listed on the Singapore Diamond Investment Exchange (SDiX).
Australian junior miner Lucapa Diamond Company today announced it has secured $15 million in debt financing to bring its high-value Mothae kimberlite diamond project in Lesotho into production in 2018. The secured US$15 million three-year debt facility has been arranged with private Singaporean company Equigold. It is repayable in eight quarterly payments commencing December 2018, by when Lucapa expects Mothae to be in steady state production under its Phase 1 development plan.
According to The Economic Times, Indian diamond traders that participate in rough diamond auctions at Mumbai's Indian Diamond Trading Centre (IDTC) are complaining that taxation issues are reducing their activity to mere window shopping. "Diamantaires can see the rough diamonds they bid for at the IDTC, but the delivery doesn't happen locally .. despite their successful bids at Bharat Diamond Bourse", the newspaper writes.
Last week, a delegation of leading jewelers and diamond traders from across Europe spent three days getting acquainted with their counterparts in Antwerp, enjoying a behind-the-scenes look at the diamond capital and doing business at high-level networking events.
As Bloomberg first reported last week, Exelco North America, the local branch of the prominent Belgian diamond company Exelco NV, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. in an apparent attempt to prevent KBC Bank from liquidating the company's assests. Back in June, Belgian bank KBC Group NV seized assets from Exelco in an attempt to recover unpaid loans, according to court documents.
The Times of India this past weekend was the bearer of somber news from the Surat diamond industry, writing that, "Most of the small and medium diamond manufacturers have literally stopped the manufacturing of diamonds ahead [of Diwali] and are waiting to down their factory shutters early." With Diwali coming on October 19 (compared to October 30 last year), De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver was optimistic as rough diamond sales in Cycle 6 (ended 31 July) surged to $572 million.
Dominion Diamond Corporation yesterday announced that its, "Shareholders overwhelmingly approved the previously-announced plan of arrangement pursuant to which Northwest Acquisitions ULC, an entity affiliated with The Washington Companies, has agreed to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of the Company for US$14.25 per share in cash." In other words, shareholders are expected to receive $14.25 US per share in cash when the acquisition closes. The aquisition arrangement is worth a total of US$1.2 billion.
Richemont, the second largest luxury goods company in the world, announced sales had jumped during the April-to-August period as a result of Asia's strong performance.
Alrosa today announced the results of its rough specials and polished diamond auctions, held at the Eastern Economic Forum. The rough specials of 10.8+ carats, 1,293cts total achieved a total sales price of USD14.8 million, while 33 of the 36 polished stones, 2 to 12 carats were sold for a total sales value of USD 1.7 million. According to Alrosa VP Okoyomov the auctions were attended by some 50 companies from the US, India, Israel, Belgium and the UAE.
The Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX), a screen-based online derivatives exchange for commodities, went live on August 28. ICEX commenced operations with the launch of Diamond Futures, which will be the world’s first futures exchange in diamonds. It is intended to help Indian polishing companies better hedge price risks. The diamond contracts launched by ICEX initially is in size of 1 carat with compulsory delivery. “Indian manufacturers most require this type of financial product,” said managing director and CEO Sanjit Prasad.
Today we have announced total cash returns to shareholders of $3 billion. By driving performance, focusing on cash and allocating it with discipline we are delivering superior cash returns to our shareholders. These are strong results: operating cash flow was $6.3 billion and we met our $2 billion cash cost reduction target six months early. We are now shifting gear to focus on the untapped value from our productivity programme and continue to strengthen our portfolio to build higher returns for the future.
- Rio Tinto chief executive J-S Jacques, on 2017 half year results
India's recently-adopted goods & services tax (GST) of 3% on polished diamonds, 5% service tax and 0.25% on imported rough diamonds is making life challenging for the country's 50,000 small and medium diamond manufacturing units in Gujarat, employing up to 200,000 workers. The Economic Times, citing Praveen Shankar Pandya, chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), reports that due to increased compliance requirements and uncertainty over when they will get input credit refund, the viability of many of these small units is uncertain.
De Beers and parent company Anglo American (AA) today announced their interim financial results for the six months ended 30 June 2017, with the diamond giant reporting a mixed bag while the diversified miner saw its massive restructuring bear fruit. De Beers underlying financial result were positive, as Underlying EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) increased by 3% to $786 million (H1 2016: $766 million), capital expenditure (Capex) dropped significantly and its return on capital employed (ROCE) for the year increased from 7 to 11%.
Gem Diamonds has released its H1 trading update showing improvement in the discovery of highly valuable diamonds from Letšeng mine in Lesotho, as well as a strong uptick in sales prices for its large stones, but are investors convinced that real recovery is on the horizon? After a year of declining large diamond recoveries (5) and prices (-26%), the company has recovered five +100 carat diamonds since the end of March alone (4 in reporting period, 1 just after) and has seen its pricing increase to an average of US$1,779 per carat for the period, up 20% from US$1,480 per carat in H2 2016.
As anticipated, while Petra Diamonds achieved record levels of production and sales in FY 2017, with production up 8% to 4.0 Mcts (FY 2016: 3.7 Mcts) and revenue up 11% to US$477.0 million (FY 2016: US$430.9 million), investors remain worried as the company missed its production and revenue guidance by 8-9% due to the slower than anticipated build-up of its expansion programs across its operations. Furthermore, the company pushed back its production guidance and unveiled higher than expected spending and debt, causing its share price to tumble.
After months of speculation and a rejected takeover attempt, Canadian miner Dominion Diamond Corporation has entered into an arrangement agreement with The Washington Companies to acquire all of Dominion’s outstanding common shares for US$14.25 per share in cash, or a total equity value of approximately US$1.2 billion. The transaction represents a 44 percent premium to Dominion’s unaffected share price of US$9.92 on March 17, 2017. Dominion rejected Washington's initial advance of $1.1 billion, or $13.50 a share last March, calling it "opportunistic" and saying it undervalued the company.
Canada's Dominion Diamond Corp., the world's third-largest diamond producer by market value with a controlling interest in the Ekati Mine and 40% owner of the Diavik Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories, is in advanced and friendly talks with The Washington Companies on a sweetened cash takeover bid, sources told Reuters this week. Susan Taylor and John Tilak write that Negotiations are focused on the two sides settling on a price, said the sources, who declined to speak publicly on the matter. A deal could be announced within weeks, they said.
Antwerp's diamond trade in June mirrors the trends we have seen from the diamond capital over the first half of the year 2017, with significant volume increases of lower-priced rough exports and a persistently soft polished trade. On a year-over-year basis, the volume of rough diamond exports increased for the second month in a row by more than 50% (53%) while their value rose only 24%. The volume of rough imports also surged 31% while their value lagged behind at 5%.
At its Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, Russian diamond miner PJSC ALROSA approved the company’s annual report and financial statements and recommended a total dividend to be paid of $1.1 billion (RUB 65.769 billion) or $0.15 (RUB 8.93) per ordinary share of 50 kopecks par value ($0.008). According to the IFRS Consolidated Financial Statements of ALROSA and its subsidiaries, in 2016 the net profit (less profit attributable to non-controlling interest) amounted to $2.21 billion (RUB 131.391 billion). Fifty percent of this amount will be paid as dividend.
For the year ended 31 March 2017, South Africa-based and JSE-listed junior diamond mining company Trans Hex Group reported a loss of $14.1 million (R182.6 million), representing an 81% increase than the year prior, when the group recorded a loss of $7.8 million (R100.8 million). The loss derives from sales revenue decreased by 19.5% to $41.8 million (R540.2 million) compared to the corresponding period a year earlier. Diamond sales by volume fell 17.5% to 40,187 carats, while the average price of rough sold dropped 2.2%, the company reported.
De Beers Group’s latest announcement is the creation of De Beers Ventures, a separate platform which considers the acquisition of minority equity stakes in start-ups and growth companies related to the Group's core business.
In November 2016, Reuters reported that an Italian market regulator Consob was investigating the sale of high-quality investment diamonds through bank branches across the country after a TV report alleged the stones were mis-sold to the public. Several Italian banks distribute diamonds for diamond brokers, generating around 300 million euros ($334 million) in sales for the brokers last year.
Indian diamond manufacturers, brokers and merchants in the manufacturing center in Surat have unanimously decided to shut the industry for a day on June 17, demanding exemption of the polished diamonds from the 3% Goods and Service Tax (GST), writes The Times of India (TOI). They have formed a committee to lead the protest against the GST council's decison to impose 3% GST on polished diamonds and 18% GST on diamond trading.
London-listed gemstones miner and Fabergé owner Gemfields said it has received an offer for the company from Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd. Fosun made an initial proposal regarding a possible cash offer for the British precious stones miner, thereby emerging as a rival to Pallinghurst, whose recent takeover bid was considered to "significantly undervalue" the company. Gemfields said it was, “actively engaged in discussions with Fosun Gold regarding a possible competing offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of the company.”
“To me, synthetic diamonds are not diamonds. It is a different product. We don’t know what their value is now or how this is going to evolve. So we are not financing lab-grown at the moment, but we may consider it over time, when it is a more mature product."
- Erik Jens, when asked by moderator Rob Bates (JCK) if ABN AMRO is currently financing lab-grown diamond companies during SRK panel debate with Paul Rowley (De Beers) and Tom Moses (GIA) at JCK Las Vegas
The Indian government’s decision to impose a 0.25 per cent tax on rough diamond imports under the goods and services tax regime (GST) in order to ensure traceability of diamonds will hurt India’s competitiveness, according to diamond industry representatives. India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) criticized the government’s decision to tax rough diamond imports, claiming it will damage the nation’s manufacturing sector, and is urging the government to reconsider its decision.
According to a report by Martin Creamer in Mining Weekly Online, South Africa's Minerals Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has taken the seemingly odd decision to deny diamond mining company De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) an exemption from a 5% levy on exports of rough diamonds to Botswana for aggregation.
Pallinghurst resources Ltd., a private equity firm focused on mining, who already own 47% of Gemfields Plc, made an offer to acquire the remaining 53% of the gemstone miner in a bid to restructure the company and make it more profitable. Pallinghurst offered investors nearly two shares in Pallinghurst for each share in the colored-stone producer, valuing the miner at $275.6 million. Gemfields’ board has advised its shareholders to not take any action at the moment while they review the offer.
According to government data for the month of March, polished imports to the US dropped 3% to $1.99 billion, or 10% to 970,953 cts in volume. Average price per carat rose 8% to $2,045.
US polished exports grew 7% to $1.58 billion, leaving net polished imports 28% lower at $402 million. January through to March, imports of polished goods slid 11% to $2.45 billion, with polished exports declining 3% to $4.58 billion.
Acording to provisional data released by The Gem & Jewelry Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), India’s polished diamond exports fell by 2% in April to US$1.75 bn, compared with the same month a year earlier. What is telling however is that in the four months of the calendar year, polished exports have risen 2% compared with 2016, reaching $7.65 bn.
Richemont, the second largest luxury goods company in the world, released its consolidated results for the financial year that ended 31 March 2017. Jewelry sales for the group - including Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels - were up 7% to $4.55 billion, a growth considered rare for this section of the group’s portfolio. The report suggests the rise was partially offset by a weak watch division as watch sales dropped by 15% to $4.75 billion.
Canadian junior miner Kennady Diamonds, whose Kennady North diamond project is located in Canada’s Northwest Territories in proximity to the Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine, announced the terms of a non-brokered private placement whereby the Company plans to raise approximately C$10,000,000 (US$7.3 million) through the issuance of a combination of common shares and flow-through common shares. The common shares to be issued under the offering have been priced at C$3.25 per share and the flow-through common shares have been priced at C$4.38 per share.
India's Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) has reported overall growth in the industry for the financial year 2016-17 (April 2016 - March 2017), despite what Executive Director Sabyasachi Ray described as a year of “disruption”, referring to various unexpected developments like Brexit, the election of Donald Trump; and, on the homefront, the demonetisation and looming introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Representatives from the Antwerp diamond industry were on board today for Brussels Airlines' first official direct flight from Brussels to Mumbai, where HRD Antwerp diamond certification lab is opening its new, expanded offices and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre is holding an information session for the Indian banking sector. The diamond delegation is participating in a Belgian economic mission to India spearheaded by Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Pieter De Crem.
ALROSA’s new President Sergey Ivanov led a senior delegation from the Russian diamond miner to Antwerp today to get acquainted with their partners at the Antwerp World Diamond Centre.
R2Net, which owns JamesAllen.com, the fastest growing online diamond retailer, obtained a $140M growth equity investment from Francisco Partners to further accelerate the company’s rapid expansion, the company announced in a press release. “Anyone who has ever bought a diamond or an engagement ring appreciates how intimidating the process can be for the consumer,” said Matt Spetzler, Partner at Francisco Partners.
Back in February, the Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) hosted the "Diamond Financing 2017: New Opportunities, New Realities" seminar coinciding with the 2017 Presidents Meeting, the biannual gathering of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB). Avi Krawitz reports on the proceedings: "The bankers still view diamonds as a high-risk sector. Representatives from the diamond trade, meanwhile, feel there has been significant progress in improving the industry’s level of compliance, transparency and so-called bankability.
Last week, BloombergMarkets reported that Anil Agarwal - the founder and controlling shareholder in Indian resource giant Vedanta Resources Plc. - paid $2.5 billion for 13 percent stake in Anglo American, a transaction that immediately made him Anglo’s second-biggest shareholder.
Back in September 2016, ALROSA announced a partnership with Indian company KGK Diamonds Private Ltd, a global leader in diamond cutting, to develop cutting and polishing facilities in Eurasian Diamond Centre in Vladivostok.
Russia's ALROSA has announced that it has gained direct access to trading at Moscow Exchange’s FX Market, and that the first trades were executed on April 4, 2017. As of January 16, 2017, Russia starting permitting select non-financial institutions to participate in the FX market directly on equal terms with banks and brokerage firms. So ALROSA, a non-financial institution, can now directly access the foreign exchange market and trade forex without the use of an outside broker.*
Antwerp's diamond trade trended strong across the board in March, as the rough diamond trade experienced an increase in volume as well as value, while the polished trade saw better results than in previous months. The volume of rough exports from Antwerp increased 7% year-over-year to 10.75 million carats, while rough imports jumped nearly 16% compared to the same month a year earlier, reaching 9.4 million carats.
Anglo American Plc’s billionaire shareholder, Anil Agarwal, said he had no intention of behaving like an activist investor following his $2.5 billion investment for a 13% stake earlier this month. He continued by staying he had no plan to buy Anglo’s assets in South Africa, or to push for a seat on the board. The investment was made through Agarwal’s holding company, Volcan Investments, rather than Vedanta Resources.
Stéphane Fischler, President of the International Diamond Council, founding member of the European Council of Diamond Manufacturers, Vice President of the World Diamond Council and President of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre talks to Manisha Gupta on India's CNBC-TV18. He shared his view of the Indian diamond industry and the road ahead for its diamond market. An abbreviated version:
CNBC: How do you see diamond consumption growth in India?
"Martin Rapaport, chairman of the Rapaport Group, called on India to show reciprocity in its trade relationship with the United States," writes eponymous Rapaport News of their founder's “State of Diamond Industry” presentation at GJEPC's "Mines to Market" conference yesterday, marking 50 years of India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council.
India's polished diamond trade appears to making a solid recovery as it gains distance on November's demonitization shock. The country exported $2.41 billion of cut and polished diamonds in February 2017, a rise of 3.27% as compared to the $2.34 bn in the same month a year earlier, according to provisional data released by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). More telling, however, is that February exports increased 49% over January 2017 ($1.6b) and were 63% higher than December 2016 (1.48b).
Canadian mining company Dominion Diamond Corp. received a $1.1 billion bid from a privately held conglomerate in Montana, but the two sides are at a negotiating impasse, setting the stage for a public takeover fight, writes The Wall Street Journal.