De Beers income falls in first half

South Africa’s diamond mining company De Beers said Monday that profits in the first half of the year dropped by more than half, despite increased diamond sales, the Associated Press reported.

The company said its net income fell to $261 million in the first six months of the year from $633 million for the same period last year, the AP reported. The total diamond sales for the six months were worth $3.3 billion, compared to $3.2 billion in the first half of 2001.

The slide in profits was attributed largely due to the termination of $297 million in income from its former share holding in the London-based mining giant Anglo American, the AP reported. Prospects for the second half of the year would depend on the state of the global economy and consumer confidence, specifically in the United States, the company said.

The diamond industry began the calendar year in a positive mood, De Beers said, because Christmas sales of jewelry were better than expected and the inventory of polished diamonds held by the retail trade during 2001 was reduced, the AP reported. The company said there had been a strong demand for rough diamonds throughout the first half of 2002.