DTC Has Record Sales in 2006

The DTC announced its rough diamond sales set a new record in 2006, hitting $6.5 million, 15 percent higher than 2004 figures.

De Beers’ earnings for 2005 were $782 million, a 26 percent jump over 2004.

Overall, retail sales of diamond jewelry grew 6 percent to 7 percent, the DTC said. “The U.S. had a satisfactory Christmas,” it added, with “high-end independents and Internet retailers outperforming the market.”

The statement noted that the DTC raised its rough diamond prices on two occasions in 2005, meaning that prices were, on average, 9.5 percent higher than in 2004.

In a conference call following the release of the results, outgoing managing director Gary Ralfe said De Beers reached a number of milestones in 2005, including the $250 million resolution of a class-action antitrust suit in the United States, which brings it into further compliance with U.S. laws.

“[The settlement] resolves most of the civil litigation against De Beers. In terms of our reputation that is very important,” Ralfe said. “Twice in the past year, we have been in Washington presenting ourselves as a good global citizen,” he noted. But he added, “We have no intention of operating in the United States.”

He also hailed the new black empowerment deal, which included the sale of part of its South African arm, De Beers Consolidated Mines, to a minority-owned company.