ABN Amro sent a letter to several of its diamond clients stating that it would be limiting finance for rough purchases "in view of the continued lack of profitability in the purchase of rough goods." The letter, which was obtained by JCK and IDEXonline, was sent last week from an Antwerp branch of the Dutch bank to a number of its clients declaring a moratorium on rough loans, pointing implicitly to the industry's reckless behavior in writing, "We recommend you to show constraint [sic] and only consider purchasing rough when there is sufficient profitability." In other words, the b
Firestone Diamonds today announced its 75%-owned subsidiary Liqhobong Mining Development has received a waiver from ABSA Bank for certain of its covenants measured as at 30 June 2019 in terms of the $82.4 million facility agreement, with the support of its bondholders. The next measurement date will be 30 June 2020.
Russia diamond-mining giant Alrosa's shareholders at their Annual General Meeting decided to allocate 100% of free cash flow for the second half of 2018 to the period-end dividend – 30.3 billion rubles, or approximately $480 million. Taking into account the nearly $692 million (43.7 billion rubles) in dividends the company paid for the first half-year of 2018 (equaling $0.09 or RUB 5.93 per share), the total dividend for 2018 will amount a record $1.17 billion (RUB 73.9 billion) or $0.16 (RUB 10.04) per share.
Stornoway Diamond Corp., 100% owner and operater of the Renard Diamond Mine in Quebec which began commercial production in January 2017, is in dire financial straits and is looking for new investment in, if not a buyer for the mine and its assets. Stornoway has endured some very turbulent times over the past year and a half, seeing its losses mount as a result of operational difficulties and a highly unfavorable market for its diamonds, and will need to restructure if it is going to continue operations.
Lucapa Diamond Company last week has agreed on funding and refinancing arrangements which will improve its financial position and reduce its financing costs, the company said in an ASX announcement. The move will enable Lucapa to reduce the higher-cost debt used to fund the development of the new high-value Mothae diamond mine in Lesotho.
Diamond-rich Botswana expects mineral revenues in the 2019/20 fiscal year to drop by 4 percent to 13.6 billion pula ($1.26 billion) due to a decline in royalties and dividends, a minerals ministry budget document showed last week. Botswana is heavily dependent on its diamond resources which, according to the World Bank, is responsible for 25% of the country's GDP, approximately 85% of exports earnings and about one-third of the government's revenues.
BlueRock Diamonds, an AIM-listed junior miner which owns and operates the Kareevlei Diamond Mine in the Kimberley region of South Africa, has recovered its largest diamond to date: a 16.28 carat gem-quality stone. It is 4.58 carats larger than the next largest diamond the miner has recovered. On Monday, the company announced it has raised an aggregate of £575,000 ($740,000) through a placement.
Botswana Finance LLC, a subsidiary of Lazare Kaplan International (LKI) has signed a $125 million loan guaranty with Stanbic Bank Botswana, a member of Standard Bank Group and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. The loan guaranty will encourage and support lending to diamond manufacturers and polishing companies while allowing the organizations to share credit risk.
Last week, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the University of Antwerp hosted an “Innovation and Diamonds” conference at the Antwerpsche Diamantkring - the only rough diamond bourse in the world - featuring internationally-recognized experts from across the spectrum of the diamond trade, including alternative financing, the impact of digital on the luxury segment, the feasibility of small-scale ethical mining, as well as the earthquake and aftershocks of De Beers’ foray into lab-grown diamonds: LightBox.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA has tested a new payment mechanism enabling foreign clients to purchase rough stones using Russian currency. As an experiment, transactions were conducted with clients from China and India, and if necessary, the company is prepared to use this payment scheme in rubles in the future.
The 10% decline in bank finance to the gem and jewelry sector over the last few months will adversely impact exports from the industry during the year, the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) said in a statement yesterday.
Signet Jewelers yesterday announced the completion of the final phase of its strategic outsourcing of credit through the sale of its existing non-prime receivables, for which the group received $445.5 million in cash proceeds.
ABN Amro, the largest and longstanding financier to the diamond and jewelry industry, is closing its lending offices in New York and Dubai as it continues to cut back on financing to the trade as a whole. Brigitte Seegers, a spokeswoman for the Dutch bank, initially announced the move during a first quarter earnings call last week, which will leave Antwerp and Hong Kong as the bank's last divisions standing.
The latest fallout from the Nirav Modi-Gitanjali scandal that has rocked India's diamond and jewelry sector comes in the form of the State Bank of India's (SBI) decision to tighten the collateral demands on borrowers from the industry. India’s largest lender has told borrowers in the gems and jewelry sector to either bring in more collateral to back their existing loans or reduce the size of them in a timely manner.
With the country’s leading public sector banks facing massive financial turmoil following the fraud cases featuring billionaire Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, now estimated to involve approximately $2 billion, diamond mining companies may ultimately pay the price as far as sale of rough diamonds to Indian diamond companies is concerned, suggests The Times of India. The TOI turned to independent diamond analyst Paul Zimnisky for insight: “There are two primary concerns as a result of the Modi and Choksi episode.
The Bank of Israel has agreed to open a $285 million (Nis 1 billion) credit line to diamond traders in the form of government-backed loans in response to calls from the industry to alleviate a credit crunch that is hurting their competitiveness.
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.
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.
Lucapa Diamond last week adopted a new development plan for the high-value Mothae kimberlite diamond project that foresees increases in targeted production, cash flows and mine life. The improvements to targeted production and cash flows include: a 22% increase in diamond production to 498k carats, a 30% increase in kimberlite material mined to 25 million tons and a 12% increase in mine life to 13.5 years.
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.”
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.
This week, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre and the University of Antwerp hosted an “Innovation and Diamonds” conference at the Antwerp Diamond Bourse, featuring specialists from across the entire spectrum of the diamond trade, from mining to blockchain tech.
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.
Botswana Diamonds has raised $1.13 million (£868,000) from directors and existing subscribers with funds to be used to progress its flagship Vutomi project in Frischgewaagt, South Africa, to inferred resources status and to continue its exploration activities. The funds were raised through the placing of 79,484,300 new ordinary shares. Botswana issued 31,244,300 ordinary shares of 0.25p each at the exercise price of 0.85 pence per new share for a total of £265,576 ($346,000).
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.
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.
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.
South African equity group Pallinghurst Resources Ltd. on June 26 announced it has received 96% of shareholder support in its quest to move ahead with a bid to fully acquire Gemfields, in which it is already the largest investor; more than 75% of Gemfields shareholders have given their acceptance for the offer. Last week, Pallinghurst lowered the minimum number of acceptances from shareholders of Gemfields Plc on its takeover offer to 60 percent, from 75 percent, making its offer unconditional. This move came after China's Fosun International raised its offer for the gemstone company.
As Petra Diamonds approaches the close of financial year 2017 (ending 30 June 2017), it has released a market update revising its production and revenue guidance down by 8-9%, despite the fact that the miner is on track to achieve record revenue and production figures in FY 2017. "However, due to the slower than anticipated build-up of its expansion programmes across its operations, production is now estimated to be ca. 8-9% lower than guidance of ca. 4.4 million carats. As a result, revenue is expected to be ca.
Junior miner Firestone Diamonds now expects to recover approximately 360,000 carats in the financial year ending 30 June 2017, against April's guidance of 300,000 carats, or roughly 20% more than anticipated. Firestone announced on 26 April 2017 that commissioning activities at the Liqhobong Diamond Mine in Lesotho (owned 75% by Firestone and 25% by the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho) were largely complete and that final ramp up was progressing on track, having achieved the plant's nameplate throughput capacity on multiple occasions since the commencement of operations.
China's Fosun International has increased its offer for UK gemstone miner and Fabergé owner Gemfields to $323 million (£256 million), and Gemfields is encouraging its minority shareholders to accept the takeover bid despite considering it unreasonable, in order to avoid an even more “derisory” buyout bid from its largest shareholder, Pallinghurst Resources. Last month, South African private equity group Pallinghurst made an unsolicited offer of 37.1p per share for the 62 per cent of Gemfields that it does not already own, offering investors no premium on the gemstone miner’s share price. In
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.”
In late March Canadian mining company Dominion Diamond Corp., the world's third largest diamond producer by market value, received an unsolicited $1.1 billion bid from a privately held conglomerate, Washington Corporations (WashCorp), based in Montana. Since soundly rejecting Washington’s offer, and the surge in share prices, Dominion is laying low.
DiamondCorp, the UK-based South African junior diamond miner that underwent an autumn of misfortune including fires and floods at its Lace Mine, has filed to appoint administrators of the company after a business rescue plan failed to result in a solution to their liquidity issues. The decision of the listed holding company to go into administration comes despite being months away from steady-state production, as local bondholders and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (ACMU) frustrated it efforts to refinance, writes Business Day.
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.
Sergey Ivanov, the President of ALROSA, participated in the extraordinary business meeting with the company’s long-term clients dedicated to the new contract period, the company writes in a press release. Participants of the meeting from more than 70 Russian and foreign companies had a chance to discuss with ALROSA’s management diamond market trends, the existing market environment, plans for the near future, and the company’s sales structure. A new 3-year contract period 2018-2020 is to start next year.
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.
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.*
Russia’s Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) has no intention to sell its stake in uncut diamond mining giant ALROSA, the republic’s head Yegor Borisov told PRIME. “As far as ALROSA is concerned, it remains under the government control, because there is an agreement, under which a controlling stake is held by the Russian government and the government of Yakutia. Our 25% plus one share stake is protected by law, that’s why we do not plan to privatize it. We do not plan to privatize our part. Districts are also tied to this law, 8%, that’s why it is very difficult,” he said.
Canadian miner Dominion Diamond Corporation issued a statement yesterday announcing the formation of, "a Special Committee to explore, review, and evaluate a range of potential strategic alternatives focused on maximizing shareholder value," and selling the company is one of those alternatives. The announcement follows events last week when Dominion became the target of an unsolicited $1.1 billion approach by U.S.