Monday 16 September 2019 7:58 am

Petra Diamonds loses its sparkle as annual profits plunge

Petra Diamonds suffered a double-digit fall in annual profits during the last year as weak diamond prices dragged down the South African mining giant.

London’s largest quoted diamond mining group reported adjusted core profits of $153m (£122.8m) in the 12 months to 30 June 2019, plunging 22 per cent from the previous year.

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Net losses after tax hit $258m, including a non-cash impairment charge of $246.6m as a result of weak rough diamond prices.

Demand remained solid across all assortments but was weaker for larger white stones, according to the firm.

Shares in the group have crashed almost 80 per cent in the last year, hitting just over 8p when trading closed at the end of last week.

“Whilst noting that seasonal weakness is typically experienced in pricing at the first tender of FY 2020, the company expects the diamond market to remain challenging in the near-term,” the group said in a statement this morning.

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In the last year the miner has been looking to slash its debt pile, which stands at around $540m.

Chief executive Richard Duffy said: “In the short term, we remain firmly focused on the rigorous execution of Project 2022, which is expected to reduce the Company’s high net debt levels, against this backdrop of a challenging diamond market. Addressing this leverage will enable us to capture future organic growth opportunities and reposition Petra as the leading mid-tier diamond producer.”