Overseas Diamonds Goes Under Water

I don’t have that much information to add to today’s story in Idex except I have spoken with people at the company and have been told that DTC sightholder Overseas Diamonds has indeed filed for the Belgian version of bankruptcy.

Overseas is best known in the U.S. for introducing the I-See 2 viewing system. It has been in a sightholder since 1981, and bought from all the big producers, including Alrosa, BHP and Rio. It also issued bonds, in a move that was then hailed as part of a new transparency for the industry.

Dave Lapa was listed in documents as the company’s main shareholder. The U.S. office is said to be closed and there is not much beyond the homepage currently on the company’s website.

While the news was shocking, apparently it had been developing for some time, as the company was squeezed by the decline in the rough market and the weak market for polished.

It is a sad situation, and shows this industry is not out of its hole just yet. Antwerp bankers were pretty pessimistic in an article Monday in Bloomberg, with ABN Amro’s Victor van der Klast saying that as many of a third of the world’s diamond companies would be “lost” without bank support.

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JCK News Director