Auction delay dulls Gemfields’ results but operations on track

Suzie Neuwirth
GEMFIELDS, the Aim-listed coloured gemstones miner, yesterday shrugged off full-year losses of $22.8m (£14.1m) and said it was on track with its plans to develop the business.

The firm, which has actress Mila Kunis as its ambassador, fell into the red after making profits of $161.5m the previous year.

Revenue went down to $48.4m from $83.7m in 2012.

The decline was mostly due to the delay of a rough-emeralds auction by a month following a directive by the Zambian government, which pushed the auction revenue into the current year.

“Underlying the arguably misleading numbers, Gemfields performed very well operationally over the year,” said broker Sanlam Securities.

The firm – which acquired luxury jewellery maker Faberge last November for around $142m – said that annual production of emerald and beryl from the firm’s main mine in Zambia rose by 42 per cent to 30m carats.

Chief executive Ian Harbottle told City A.M. that Gemfields is eager to expand its offering from rubies and emeralds, to create a “traffic light of coloured stones”. He said that the firm is “the closest we’ve ever been” to acquiring a sapphire asset, with an announcement expected within the next year.

He added that Gemfields is also looking to buy more emerald deposits, “as demand is soaring and we cannot meet it”.

Harbottle said that in the last six months demand for coloured gems has grown in the Western world.