Aber Diamond Corp. changed its name to Harry Winston Diamond Corp. November 19. The company, trading on the New York Stock Exchange, is the largest publicly traded diamond company.
The company is a major player at both ends of the diamond supply chain. The mining operation, with revenues of about $400 million per year, owns 40 percent of the Diavik Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories of Canada. This equates to roughly three percent of the world’s rough diamond production. At the other end of the diamond supply chain, the retail operation with annual revenues of about $300 million, owns 18 Harry Winston stores worldwide including New York, Beverly Hills, Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. Plans are ongoing for new stores in Beijing and possibly Shanghai and Mumbai to take advantage of the two fastest-growing economies, China and India.
On first look, Harry Winston Diamond Corp. appears to cover the vertical spectrum in the diamond industry but the company still must outsource the cutting and polishing process that is required to transform the mined rough diamonds into the finished gems sold at the retail level.
With the rapidly growing demand for diamonds and the decreasing production from many of the larger, older mines, the quest for diamond mines is very dynamic. There are many mining companies investing in new exploration and enhanced production techniques in older mines. Diamond mines have become a scarce and valuable resource drawing the attention of big dollars. Since developing new diamond-producing mines is a long, expensive process, growth for the Harry Winston mining operation will most likely come from acquisitions of producing facilities or mines close to production. The most likely scenario for growth would be purchasing the other 60 percent interest in the Diavik Diamond Mine, currently owned by Rio Tinto.