Sunday, December 12, 2010

Asian consumers boost diamond sales

Wealthy Asians have been crowding the international retail stores of U.S.-based Harry Winston Diamond Corp., putting a shine to third-quarter earnings and a polish to future prospects. But the company said its own captive source of gem diamonds, a 40-per-cent stake in the Diavik mine in northwestern Canada, won't be more generous in 2011, because of technical problems as extraction moves deeper underground.

CEO Frederic de Narp said yesterday said diamond sales were not only up in Europe but also in the Mideast, Russia and many parts of Asia. The volume of carats sold gained sharply from a year earlier -mostly because of the impact of the global recession on the 2009 period.

Quarterly revenue almost doubled to $140.9 million U.S., including a 48-per-cent jump at the retail level and a 70-per-cent surge in "bridal business." Earnings were $3.9 million, or 5 cents a share, compared with a small loss a year earlier. "Asian business will be our major focus for building future growth," de Narp said.

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