London--Both sales and profits were up for De Beers in 2014, parent company Anglo American reported in its preliminary results released late last week.
The diamond miner and marketer’s sales increased 11 percent year-over-year from $6.40 billion to $7.11 billion, with rough diamond sales up 12 percent to $6.5 billion. The average realized diamond prices held steady at $198 per carat, driven by a 5 percent higher average rough price index but offset by a marginally lower product mix.
De Beers’s underlying EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) increased 36 percent year-over-year to $1.36 billion due to what the company described as “solid demand across key markets, particularly the U.S., which resulted in strong revenue growth.” In a company statement, Anglo American Chief Executive Mark Cutifani observed that De Beers’s $1.4 million in EBIT represented 28 percent of the company’s total EBIT for the year and that it was the second-largest contributor to EBIT in the entire company.
Commenting on markets more specifically, De Beers said that consumer demand for diamond jewelry grew in local current terms in all its main markets last year, with diamond jewelry sales described as “healthy” in the U.S., a market where, it said, economic recovery is gaining momentum.
Polished diamond prices ended the year flat as compared to last year, after increasing in the first half of the year but dropping in the second. Rough diamond prices increased in 2014.
Forevermark, the company’s diamond brand, added 20 percent more retail outlets in 2014, and is now available in more than 1,500 outlets in 34 markets.
De Beers Diamond Jewellers, the chain the company operates in concert with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, opened a new store in Selfridges in London and is now selling in Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and on SaksFifthAvenue.com.
In 2014, De Beers mined 5 percent more rough, with production reaching 32.6 million carats compared with 31.2 million in the prior-year period. Mining was particularly productive for Debswana, the joint venture De Beers operates with the government of Botswana, but fell at the Snap Lake mine in Canada and Kimberley.
The company said it expects production in 2015 to be equal to or greater than this year, falling in the range of 32 to 34 million carats.