DTC 2003 Sales Rise 7%
De Beers projects global retail sales are up 6%
De Beers announces its Diamond Trading Co. sales totaled $5.52 billion in 2003, a 7% increase over 2002. DTC raised its rough prices three times in 2003; by year-end its prices were about 10% higher on average than at the beginning of the year.
The De Beers Group says global retail sales of diamond jewelry were up 6% in U.S. dollars in 2003 over 2002. U.S. sales were particularly strong, as were India, China and the United Kingdom. Japan also recorded growth for the first time in a number of years. De Beers says it hoped the strong demand will help clear excess diamond stocks to help reduce debt levels in cutting centers.
De Beers directors are optimistic about 2004 and that the companys Supplier of Choice strategy to drive diamond jewelry demand is working.
De Beers also announces Jonathan Oppenheimer will become managing director of De Beers on July 1, with Gareth Penny as managing director of the DTC division. They succeed Gary Ralfe, who will remain managing director of the De Beers Group. Oppenheimer and Penny will report to Ralfe.
In related news, Ralfe says De Beers hopes to finalize its agreement with Russian diamond supplier Alrosa and resolve other legal issues, such as complaints filed by former clients and other suits in the U.S. He says progress in the groups Canadian mining ventures is slow, but construction at Snap Lake and Victoria should begin in 2005. De Beers remains disappointed by its inability to reenter Angolas mining trade.
by Peggy Jo Donahue