De Beers cut prices some 2–3 percent at its latest allocation in Botswana, sources say, as attendees noted a more conciliatory tone from the company CEO.
The slashed prices and smaller allocation—estimated at around $450 million—were stark signs of the manufacturing community’s ongoing troubles; executives previously hinted the company would hold the line on prices since it expected the market to improve. Still, unlike previous sights this year, most of the goods sold. The refusal rate was said to be less than 10 percent, and most of those goods evenutally found buyers.
The price reduction was not even across all categories, and some of the assortments received adjustments, one of De Beers’ traditional methods for price changes.
Attendees said that CEO Philippe Mellier spoke with surprising passion at the regular sightholder dinner, acknowledging the problems that clients have been having for the past eight months. He stressed that De Beers was committed to the long-term health of the business and to forging strong relationships with its clients, which struck some attendees as a marked change from prior comments.
Spokesperson David Johnson says Mellier’s message was not necessarily new, but centered on how all of De Beers initiatives—including its new financial-reporting requirements, the Forevermark, and synthetic detection devices—support the health of the market. “It was about tying everything together,” he says.
Johnson declined to comment on pricing.