By Charles WyndhamAugust 21st, 2017
Not much new knocking around at the moment, as far as I can see.
My chums at Gem Diamond continue to meet expectations with appalling results, revenue down, EBITA crashing down some 70%, earning per share down to 0.04 US cents compared to 9.70 US cents for the comparable period last year….
Still there are the same three head honcho Executive Directors, (Elphick, Michael and Turner) smiling from a rejigged website, which allows for the non-Executive directors also to give us a beaming smile.
I suppose Elphick et al can smile as they have been able to continue their self-indulgent rape of the company through outrageous remuneration, let alone that they are still being allowed to run the company in their totally incompetent way.
I last wrote about this shambles in March when the share price was £1.11 and now stands at 85.50 pence, or a fall of 23%, despite a fillip last week of 7% on the news that they may have found a buyer for Ghaghoo, the Botswana mine that they have put into care and maintenance to reopen when the market improves.
‘Market improve’, De Beers had a good first half and say that they expect the second half to be strong, so what are Gem waiting for?
I must say I find it difficult that anyone would want to buy Ghaghoo as it has proved to be a total dog to date, so I am not going to be holding my breath and if it is sold I will be fascinated on what terms, perhaps with a book of Green Shield stamps.
So nothing has changed on that front.
Neither on another front.
I have been inundated with people kindly sending the latest missive of the Diamond Intelligence Briefs (DIB), all about the break down in the trust in the relationship between the industry and the banks, and, of course, being the fault of the producers and De Beers in particular.
There is no disputing that as the banks take one huge hit after another and others stack up, that there are fewer and fewer wishing to get involved in financing diamonds, this is hardly surprising and hardly new information.
My first reaction to reading the exceptionally lengthy diatribe was why wait till now to write it?
The deliberate ripping off of the banks has been going on for a long time, to the point which has made it highly questionable why any banks wanted to enter the game.
When one major lender kicks a client out having taken a huge loss and that client walks straight into the arms of another bank, something is simply not ‘right’.
We have all known about the absurd scale of round tripping of goods and false invoices has become, but as long as the music kept going no one has wanted to rock the boat.
The parallels with what has and is happening in the diamond industry and the sub prime rate crash are glaringly obvious.
The sudden sack clothe and ashes yelp about all this and then saying it is ultimately the producers fault and in particular the fault of De Beers Supplier of Choice (SoC) really is show boating in the extreme.
At least I can say that I have said that De Beers SoC was a complete load of rubbish from day one, all the way back when it was first launched in 2001. I may be wrong but my memory tells me that the DiB was obsequiously fawning in its praise of this De Beers policy.
Of course the deeply flawed SoC is partly to blame, but to give it such a prominence for the shenanigans that the banks have been (in some cases it would seem almost willingly) subjected to, is ridiculous.
The price of rough has certainly not been driven by the rising price of polished, which over a ten year period is pretty much flat.
So whatever the reasons, which everyone in and out of the industry have been fully aware of, it is not because of some huge success enveloping diamonds, whose comparative performance, as I have pointed out so often before, is simply woeful; no, there have had to have been other considerations, both in the sense of reasons and also providing payment, in whatever form for which many diverse parties are implicated.
In passing, I found it amusing that the Diamond Producers Association has managed to get a survey that claims that 75% of Millennial women regard diamond jewellery as an investment and 82% as a long-term investment.
I would suggest that they start informing these Millennials that they are wrong, as otherwise they might be facing some nasty legal cases in the years to come a la sub prime.
Just as Gem Diamonds management has and is being allowed to enrich itself at the cost to the company, its shareholders and stakeholders, so the diamond industry actively encouraged the slithering into an abyss of deceit, manipulation and straight dishonesty.
Has it passed the point of no return, I do not know but more and more banks seem to be thinking, or learning, that this is the case.