EU denies report that it approved De Beers-LVMH joint venture

The European Commission in Brussels denied media reports Friday that it had cleared a joint venture between South Africa’s De Beers Group and France’s LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

“The Commission is still reviewing this joint venture, and no decision has been taken,” European Union spokeswoman Amelia Torres, told the AP.

Newspaper reports Friday said the EU’s executive office had given informal approval to the venture, which in addition to creating an exclusive line of De Beers jewelry, would also open a network of shops to sell them around the world.

Torres said the Commission’s deadline for making a decision is Aug. 28.

The EU has said it was concerned the jewelry joint venture “may lead to a reinforcement of the market position of De Beers in the upstream markets for the supply of rough diamonds.”

The probe is looking at whether De Beers would use the new venture to push other rough diamond suppliers out of the cut gem market, and increase demand for its own rough diamond supply. It opened a four-month probe in April.