LONDON — Net profits at De Beers Societe Anonyme, the diamond miner, surged 53.2 percent in 2011 on the back of a surge in demand for rough diamonds, the company said today.
The company, which is majority owned by Anglo-American, said profits in the year to Dec. 31 rose to $978 million from $638 million, due to a 25.4 percent rise in sales. Total sales grew to $7.4 billion from $5.9 billion thanks to recovering demand in the U.S. and continued enthusiasm for diamonds in emerging markets such as China.
“In total, 2011 was an exceptional year on the demand side, with record levels of consumer demand growth estimated at between 11 percent and 13 percent over the full year and Diamond Trading Company price growth of 29 percent,” the company said in a statement. The Diamond Trading Company is the sales and marketing arm of De Beers. All figures are reported by De Beers in dollars.
The company said the outlook for 2012 — and beyond — is rosy. “In spite of uncertainty, and barring a global economic shock, we expect to see continued growth in global diamond jewelry sales, albeit at lower levels than the exceptional 2011 growth,” the statement said. “This will be driven by the overall strength of the luxury goods market, improving sentiment in the US, the largest diamond jewelry market, continuing growth in China, and the positive impact of the 2011 polished price growth on retail jewelry prices.”
De Beers added that in the medium to longer term, the industry fundamentals remain positive, with consumer demand fuelled by the emerging markets of China and India.
The company added that De Beers Diamond Jewellers, the fine jewelry joint venture between De Beers and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, reported “good growth” in sales across all regions, with Greater China particularly strong.
“The China opportunity is a priority for De Beers [jewelers], with further 2012 expansion plans following the opening of stores in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian and a second Hong Kong store in 2011,” the company said.