Financing to Take Priority at Diamond Conference

Antwerp–The diamond industry’s lack of liquidity is expected to be one of the main topics of discussion when leaders convene in Dubai in mid-May for the World Diamond Congress.

The president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), Ernie Blom, said this week that the finance sessions of the upcoming World Diamond Congress are likely to provide critical information for the industry on the issue of liquidity and other financing matters, which are of grave concern, particularly to manufacturers.

International Diamond Manufacturers Association Secretary-General Ronnie Vanderlinden wrote in a recent edition of his weekly newsletter that the diamond industry’s financial health is, in fact, a number one concern for manufacturers.

“It is obvious,” Vanderlinden wrote, “that we will be needing a wider choice of partners when seeking to finance rough diamond purchases.”

The Congress, which is scheduled to take place in Dubai from May 16 to 19, will address industry financing on the morning of May 18, with presentations and panel discussions featuring leading figures from the global diamond trade.

Erik Jens, ABN Amro Bank’s head of diamond and jewelry clients, will speak on key opportunities in financing the diamond and jewelry industry. Howard Davies, De Beers’ head of commercial development, will talk about global financing options and requirements for the diamond industry.

Jens and Davies then will take part in a panel debate for the benefit of WFDB’s 30 bourse presidents and other exchange officials along with their counterparts from the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) and more than 100 other diamond industry representatives.

Other panelists include David Bouffard, president of corporate affairs at Signet Jewelers Ltd., and Feriel Zerouki, head of government and industry relations at De Beers.

“We believe that the speakers and panelists and the interactive discussion format during the Congress will provide a comprehensive review of the nature of the financing issues affecting the diamond business and how we can best deal with them,” Blom said. “Our aim is to provide a roadmap for the industry to help take it forward during these challenging times.”

For more details about the 37th World Diamond Congress and for registration, please visit the Congress web site.

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