With two diamond mines in Canada now possibly for sale, Harry Winston confirmed it is interested in new assets in the area.
“We are interested in any of assets that are related to our field of expertise,” CEO Robert Gannicott said on a call following the announcement of company financial results.
Winston currently owns 40 percent of the Diavik diamond mine. The other 60 percent is owned by Rio Tinto, which announced March 27 it is looking to dispose of its diamond assets. Winston has a right of first refusal to buy the other portion.
In addition, Winston is reportedly a possible suitor for the Ekati diamond mine, currently owned by BHP.
Gannicott also said that he sees a "narrowed field" of companies that could acquire the mines.
“Diamonds as a product are too complex to be treated as a commodity,” he said. “It is a business for specialists."
The company also announced its financial results for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, 2012:
- Consolidated sales: $216.0 million, up 2.7%
- Operating profit: $30.7 million, up 45%
- Rough diamond sales: Up 24%, to $102.2 million, with a 14% increase in the volume of carats sold and a 9% increase in prices.
- Luxury brand segment sales: Down 14% to $113.8 million
For the fiscal year ended January 30, 2012:
- Consolidated sales: Up 13% to $702 million
- Operating profit: $56.5 million, down 20%, which includes a non-cash charge related to the Diavik Diamond Mine. Without this charge, operating profit would have been $69.5 million, slightly up, the company said.
- Average rough diamond price per carat: Up 29%
- Luxury brand segment sales: Up 19%, to $411.9 million