London - De Beers, the world’s largest diamond producer by
value, said earnings halved in the first six months of the year amid tough
trading conditions, compared to a bumper start to last year, with the remainder
of 2012 set to remain challenging.
De Beers, which vies with Russia’s Alrosa for the title of
the world’s largest diamond producer, said profit before finance charges and
taxation for the first half totalled $502m, from $1.02bn reaped the first six
months of 2011.
Total sales dipped to $3.3bn from $3.9bn in the first half a
year ago, while diamond production dipped to 13.4 million carats as the
producer continued to focus on repairs and maintenance, while it awaits
improved demand from key clients, known as sightholders.
“De Beers expects trading conditions in the mid-stream to
remain challenging during the second half of 2012,” the company said in a
statement. “De Beers will continue to produce in line with sightholder demand
and invest in stimulating and capturing consumer demand growth.”
Anglo American [JSE:AGL], which owns a 45% stake in De
Beers, agreed in November last year to take majority control of the miner by
buying out the Oppenheimer family stake.