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Petra’s Sales Slide Amid Large-Stone Scarcity

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LEAH MEIROVICH • 18-07-2023

Petra Diamonds’ sales dropped 44% for the full fiscal year as the miner recovered a lower proportion of high-value stones and pushed off its final tender due to low demand.

Revenue fell to $328.4 million for the 12 months ending June 30, the company reported Tuesday. Sales volume decreased 34% to 2.3 million carats.

The company, which operates the Cullinan, Finsch and Koffiefontein mines in South Africa, as well as the Williamson mine in Tanzania, attributed the decline to a drop in the number of large and exceptional diamonds it sold during the year. The segment contributed only $12.6 million in revenue for the year, compared to $89.1 million in fiscal 2022.

Petra also postponed its sixth and final tender of the financial year as a result of lower rough prices and deferred the sale of 75,900 carats of predominantly higher-value stones from its fifth tender, it explained. A drop in production also hit sales, as the miner had lower availability of rough to offer.

In the fourth fiscal quarter, from April to June, Petra’s rough prices grew 2% on a like-for-like basis versus the same period a year ago, it said. Meanwhile, the miner’s inventories increased to 715,200 carats at the end of the quarter as a result of the deferrals, up from 381,700 on June 30, 2022.

“Our strong balance sheet and flexible sales process enabled us to postpone the majority of our…rough-diamond sales [for the sixth tender] into fiscal year 2024 on the back of what we believe to be a temporary slowdown in demand for rough diamonds,” said Petra CEO Richard Duffy. “We continue to expect a supportive diamond market in the medium to longer terms as a result of the structural supply deficit, which will benefit our strong growth profile.”

Production fell 20% to 2.7 million carats for the fiscal year due to the recovery of lower-grade ore at Cullinan and Finsch. That total was just under the miner’s previous guidance of between 2.75 million and 2.85 million carats for the year.

Petra now expects output for the new fiscal year ending June 2024 to be between 2.9 million and 3.2 million carats, down from the 3 million to 3.3 million carats it previously forecast. It has also lowered its guidance for fiscal 2025 to the 3.4 million and 3.7 million carat range, rather than the 3.6 million to 3.9 million carats it originally estimated. The decrease is the result of a slower-than-expected ramp-up at both Cullinan and Finsch following a delay in work to extend the mines, Petra added.


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Image: A diamond sorter at the Finsch mine. (Petra Diamonds)

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