By Michelle Graff
Moscow--Russian mining company Alrosa, which seeks to overtake De Beers as the world’s largest diamond miner by value, launched its initial public offering this week, with reports indicating that U.S. investors snagged 60 percent of the shares sold.

According to Reuters, the Russian government sold 16 percent of its stake in the company at 35 rubles ($1.09) per share, raising a total of $1.3 billion. Buyers included U.S. asset management group Lazard, and Capital, Highbridge, Oppenheimer Funds and PIMCO, all investment firms, according to the report.

Alrosa’s shares sold at the bottom of the projected price range, analysts noted.

Others pointed out, however, that while the miner’s share sale was not a “dot-com story” -- meaning prices weren’t skyrocketing -- Alrosa was lucky to get the level of investment that it did, Reuters reported.

In the past several months, Alrosa has been increasing its presence globally, including in the U.S. market.

The diamond miner now has a contract to sell its better diamonds through auction house Sotheby’s and has committed to holding more tenders in New York in a partnership with the Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America.

In addition, about a month ago, reports surfaced that Alrosa is close to inking an $80 million supply deal with Akron, Ohio-based Signet Jewelers Ltd. Signet is the parent company of Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelers, two of the largest jewelry store chains in the United States.

Based in Moscow and Mirny, Russia, Alrosa is owned by the Russian government, the Russian republic of Yakutia--where most of its mines are located--eight municipalities in Yakutia and various minority investors.


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