Leviev to Buy Sirius


September 23, 2004

Leviev to Buy Sirius

The Government of the Northwest Territories' finance minister, Floyd Roland, announced that the Leviev Group of companies is in the process of purchasing Sirius Diamonds. Sirius, Canada's first diamond cutting company in the Northwest Territories, declared bankruptcy in August after it defaulted on guarantee and indemnity agreements on a Canadian bank's $8 million loan. A court-appointed receiver is currently administering the company.

Roland says that Leviev Group's offer has exceeded the $6.5 million threshold for buying the plant, and that Leviev was one of five contenders intent on purchasing the cutting facility. The move, if confirmed by the NWT court, would mark Leviev's first direct exposure to Canadian diamonds.

The profile of Leviev Group's principal, Lev Leviev, in the diamond business has risen sharply in the past year with his aggressive campaign to clinch global diamond deals. In early 2004, the Leviev Group began exporting diamonds from its marine mining operations near Luderitz, Namibia. In May, the group established a joint venture to supply major Italian jeweler Bulgari with diamonds. Leviev is active in mining and exploration in Angola and has cutting facilities worldwide, including in the source countries in which Leviev operates. The company is highly diversified, but according to estimates, the Leviev Group has a $2.5 billion turnover in rough and polished diamonds.

– Robert Weldon

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