De Beers CEO: Buckle Up for Another Volatile Year

De Beers will continue “generic” marketing in 2016

De Beers CEO Philippe Mellier told sightholders that despite some encouraging starts at the beginning of the year, the trade could face a “volatile” 2016.

On the plus side, he said, polished diamond sales have begun to stabilize and even increase, trading activity has picked up, and indications from the U.S. holiday season look “encouraging.”

On the minus side, the macroeconomic outlook remains uncertain, with currency pressures affecting downstream demand.

He said the company will continue category (i.e., generic) marketing this year.

“We saw the power of diamond marketing (and specifically De Beers’ expertise) at the end of last year,” he said.

The company also aims to strengthen its generally frayed relationships with sightholders, through so-far-unspecified changes to its sales department meant to give De Beers a better understanding of clients’ businesses and conditions in the cutting centers.

He also pledged to continue to give sightholders “flexibility” in their purchases.

“We all had to take difficult decisions, considering trade-offs between what was right for our businesses and what was right for the industry,” he said. “We all had to absorb the impact of negative trading conditions in the short term so as to protect the industry’s long-term interests. And we all had to employ our hard-earned experience and expertise to navigate through some very difficult times.”

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JCK News Director

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