De Beers, saddled with billions in debt after its recent privatization, showed its confidence recently by making a loan repayment ahead of schedule.
The company paid creditors $710 million in December 2002, several months in advance of the March 2003 deadline. De Beers, once famed for its inexhaustible cash reserves, is not out of the red yet: It still owes $2.5 billion. But this particular repayment was noteworthy not only for its timing but also because De Beers was able to make it without tapping its $1 billion revolving credit facility.
It made its first loan payment—$355 million—in March 2002.