De Beers profits up 72 percent to $939 million

De Beers profits up 72 percent to $939 million

JOHANNESBURG - Agence France-Presse
De Beers profits up 72 percent to $939 million

De Beers employees are working on diamonds in this company photo. The prominent diamond producer’s profits jumped dramatically, according to figures.

The world’s top diamond producer De Beers announced an “exceptional” year in 2011, with profits up 72 percent to $939 million on surging consumer demand, in a results statement on Feb. 10.

Total sales rose 26 percent to 7.38 billion dollars, even though production slipped to 31.3 million carats, down five percent from 2010.

“Our total sales for 2011, our second highest since privatization, were boosted by exceptional rough diamond price growth fuelled by almost unprecedented consumer demand during the first half of the year,” De Beers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer said.

“The second half of the year saw a reduction in the rate of growth, as cutting and polishing centers found it increasingly difficult to secure debt financing from banks focused on shoring up their own balance sheets.”

De Beers’ new CEO Philippe Mellier said 2011 was an “exceptional year” with consumer demand up by 11-13 percent, fed by increased consumer demand for jewelry in China, India and the United States. Rough diamond prices were up 29 percent.