De Beers announced Wednesday better-than-expected first-half earnings, thanks to strong consumer demand. Combined earnings jumped to $877 million, up from $269 million in the first-half of 1999. Earnings per share rose to $2.19 from $0.70 last year.
According to Reuters, strong global diamond sales helped De Beers reduce its diamond stockpile by $1.277 billion to $2.712 billion. The company, however, expects a slowdown in sales for the second-half. "While consumer demand remains strong, no further restocking of the trade pipeline is anticipated, and therefore sales by the DTC during the second half of 2000 will not match those of the first half," the company said. De Beers increased its dividend by 46% to $0.40 from $0.27.
- by Julia M. Duncan