Sakha polishing results show strong growth

Production value figures for diamond cutters in the Russian republic of Sakha (Yakutia) show that polished output grew in value by 16% over the year 2007 to total $180.37 million, according to a press announcement from the Sakha Ministry of Industry.
A detailed release said that domestic manufacturers within Yakutia produced $146 million worth of cut and polished diamonds while $34.37 million was outsourced to be cut and polished abroad.
This total does not include diamond polishing by Alrosa, carried out largely in Moscow, which totalled $153.7 million in value; this was down 3.5% on the 2006 level.
Industry sources identify the principal diamond manufacturers in Sakha as EPL Diamond, Almazniy Mir, and Mosalmaz. Founded in 1994, EPL Diamond is owned by Pyotr Fedorov. It operates through offices in Yakutsk, Moscow, Ramat Gan, Shanghai, and San Francisco. It claims to be Russia's fourth largest diamond manufacturer, behind Smolensk Kristall, Ruis (Leviev), and Alrosa.
Smolensk has reported that its output was worth $404 million in 2007, while Ruis has reported output value of $300 million.
The Sakha diamond manufacturers report said that in aggregate, they made net profit of Rb37.1 million ($1.4 million) for the year, compared to Rb35.1 million ($1.3 million) in losses for 2006.
The output target for this year is $215 million, representing an expected growth rate of 19%. Growth in the domestic demand for diamond jewellery is one of the drivers, the Sakha report claims, along with the consolidation of cutting enterprises, more capital investment, and less speculation.

By John Helmer in Moscow.