Ashton, the Australian diamond mining company, announced first-half profits of $13.3 million, a 124% increase over last year's first half. The increase was led by strong demand and higher prices for diamonds produced by the Argyle mine, of which Ashton owns 40%, the company said.
On July 31, De Beers proposed a takeover bid for all of Ashton's outstanding shares at $1.62 per share. With the release of Ashton's first-half profits, Ashton's chief executive said the results highlight the inadequacy of De Beers' proposed bid. Ashton has advised its shareholders to take no action in relation to the takeover bid until they receive Ashton's defense document.
- by Julia M. Duncan