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Lazare Kaplan anticipates 9 percent drop in sales

By Michelle Graff

April 21, 2014

New York--Diamond supplier Lazare Kaplan International Inc., which remains unable to file complete financial statements, estimates that its third quarter sales fell 9 percent year-over-year.

According to an April 15 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, net sales for the three-month period ended Feb. 28 totaled $13.9 million, as compared with $15.3 million in the prior-year period.

Year-to-date, Lazare Kaplan’s net sales were down 18 percent.

Revenue for the three- and nine-month periods fell 6 percent and 13 percent, respectively. Other revenue for the periods totaled $500,000 and $15.9 million due to a settlement and license agreement Lazare Kaplan reached with the Gemological Institute of America over diamond inscription technology.

Lazare Kaplan attributed its financial performance to price pressures in the diamond sector--with rough prices rising faster than polished prices--a decrease in sales of non-branded diamonds and its ongoing litigation with its former lenders.

The lawsuits with Antwerp Diamond Bank and parent company KBC Bank N.V. also are the reason Lazare Kaplan hasn’t filed a complete financial statement since May 2009. This litigation limits the ability of the company to maintain and/or expand operations, Lazare Kaplan says.

In March 2010, Antwerp Diamond Bank sued Lazare Kaplan in the Antwerp Court of Commerce because the diamond company allegedly owes the bank $45 million. A hearing in that case is set for this December, though Lazare Kaplan notes in its latest SEC filing that it has appealed a prior ruling in the case and the outcome of that appeal might change the hearing date.

For its part, Lazare Kaplan denies that it owes Antwerp Diamond Bank any money and has filed criminal proceedings against the bank in both Belgium and the United States accusing it of fraud, embezzlement and money laundering.

In the U.S. suit, the diamond company claims that both Antwerp Diamond Bank and KBC Bank stole more than $135 million in diamond sales from it through embezzlement and other criminal acts.

RELATED CONTENT: Appeals court rules in Lazare Kaplan’s favor

The most recent ruling in that case came from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which vacated an earlier decision by a lower court that the case had to be tried in Belgium and remanded it to the district court in New York for further proceedings.