- Gem Diamonds reported a plunge in profit on lower revenue amid a slump in the sale of rough diamond sales in the first half of the year. The company also reported a fatality during the period.

'It is however with regret and sadness that following a fatality-free period of 6 years at Letšeng, a fatality occurred in February whereby an operator of a sub-contractor's vehicle was involved in a vehicle accident,' the company said.

For the six-month period ending 30 June 2019, pre-tax profit fell to $18.7m from $67.4m as revenue slumped to $91.3m from $167.7m a year earlier.

Carats sold fell to 55,714 from 61,696 a year earlier, with sales of rough diamonds falling to £94.5m from £167.7m.

'Pressure on pricing of smaller, commercial type rough diamonds has continued with inventories in the manufacturing and polished markets remaining high following a disappointing 2018 holiday season and weak subsequent restocking,' the company said.

In many cases, manufacturers had to reduce stock levels resulting in increased diamond supply by diamond producers in an already saturated market, the company added.

'The group has successfully implemented the business transformation programme, already achieving US$42 million net of fees, and is on track to deliver the planned US$100 million in cost savings and efficiencies by 2021,' Gem Diamonds said.

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