Half-year sales at Petra Diamonds declined some $61m (£43m) versus the same period last year, the rough diamonds supplier and mining firm confirmed yesterday.
Petra posted sales of $154m (£109m) for the six months to the end of December, a 28% reverse year-on-year. Sales of exceptional diamonds fell 18% over the period as the company revealed it also made a net loss of $2.2m (£1.56m).
Bosses lamented a “weaker” diamond market for the six-month period, with pricing down 9% on a like-for-like basis in the first half, continuing a trend that has seen prices slump 20% over the last 18 months.
Unrealised foreign exchange losses also hit the company hard, although it said this was mitigated by significant weakening of the South African Rand.
The company said it still recorded a profit margin from mining activities of 36% in the first half despite “challenging” market conditions.
CEO Johan Dippenaar put on a brave face, saying: “Operationally, the company performed well, with both production and our expansion programmes progressing according to plan and in line with our full-year targets.
“While our financial results have been impacted by the lower diamond prices achieved in comparison to the prior period, our operations maintained a healthy profit margin from mining activities of 36% due to the robust economics of our mines, as well as the favourable effect of the weaker ZAR on our cost base.”