De Beers Posts Stellar 1999 Results

March 8, 2000

De Beers Posts Stellar 1999 Results

"It was an amazing turnaround for the diamond market as a whole – 1999 was a very good year for De Beers," company Chairman Nicholas Oppenheimer said at a morning press conference today. Sales for De Beers' Central Selling Organisation at the end of the year were up 57%, to a record $5.24 billion.

Oppenheimer credited a rising demand for rough and smaller amounts of supplied goods from sources other than De Beers. He also credited strategic changes in the way De Beers does business for the good news.

The diamond account was up 78%, with sales at $791 million and earnings for the company rose to $686 million, almost double the figure from 1998. De Beers also boasted a strong cash flow position, and what Oppenheimer described as a "very pleasing reduction of [diamond] stocks." De Beers is looking to the U.S. retail market to remain strong and has confidence in a rebounding southeast Asian market. Barring unforeseen economic downturns, De Beers expects results for 2000 to be at least on a par with last year's. Gary Ralfe, De Beers' managing director, detailed some strategic changes. De Beers is still developing and beginning to implement a four-pronged plan which includes:

- by Robert Weldon, G.G.