De Beers' buyers said to shun diamonds | Fin24
 
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De Beers' buyers said to shun diamonds

Jul 15 2015 15:05

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ANGLO AMERICAN PLC [JSE:AGL]

Last traded 355
Change 8
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Cumulative volume 3156763
Market cap 0

Last Updated: 01/01/0001 at 12:00. Prices are delayed by 15 minutes. Source: McGregor BFA

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Johannesburg - De Beers’s customers declined to buy about a third of the diamonds offered for sale this week by the world’s biggest producer, according to two people familiar with the process.

The buyers, or sight holders, exercised the right granted by De Beers this month to defer purchasing about 25% of the stones on offer and rejected about another 10%, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public. Only about $300m of the $450m of diamonds were bought, the people said.

The latest sign of turmoil in the $80bn diamond industry is another blow for Anglo American [JSE:AGL], 85% owner of De Beers, as traders, cutters and polishers suffer from a squeeze on credit and weaker-than-expected demand for jewellery. Buyers in India, where almost 90% of stones are cut and polished, threatened to ban imports this month amid complaints about a supply glut.

Anglo has previously counted on diamond revenues to offset a collapse in the price of other metals and minerals it mines. Chief executive officer Mark Cutifani is seeking to cut jobs, sell mines and lower costs as investors fret about slowing Chinese growth and as prices for copper, iron ore, thermal coal and platinum trade in or close to bear markets.

Cutifani may be forced to cut the company’s dividend for the first time since 2009 according to analysts at Barclays, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Investec .

De Beers sells diamonds at prices it sets at invitation- only sights held 10 times a year at its offices in Botswana. Sight holders, who must meet criteria set by De Beers, are asked to declare how many diamonds they intend to buy at the start of the year and risk getting a lower future allocation should they reject too many stones.

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