Feb 20, 2009
De Beers diamond giant sees 'challenging' 2009
Feb 20, 2009
LONDON, Feb 20, 2009 (AFP) - South African diamond mining giant De Beers on Friday warned 2009 will be "challenging" because of a decline in sales of diamond jewellery and liquidity problems caused by the economic crisis.
Ring De Beers
Sales in the fourth quarter of 2008 "slowed significantly as a result of the onset of the global economic downturn and the subsequent liquidity squeeze in the key global cutting centres," the company said in a statement.
Sales over the whole of 2008 however went up 1.0 percent to 6.888 billion dollars (5.387 billion euros) from 2007 and its underlying profits rose 7.0 percent following "record sales" in the first nine months of the year.
"We expect trading conditions to remain challenging throughout 2009," the statement said, adding that the company had cut production, costs and capital expenditure across all operations "to weather this tough economic environment."
De Beers is by far the biggest diamond company in the world. The company is 45 percent owned by global mining giant Anglo American, 40 percent by the Oppenheimer family and 15 percent by the government of Botswana.
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