Petra Diamonds finds founder Pouroulis’ successor
South Africa’s Petra Diamonds (LON:PDL) said Tuesday it had appointed mining engineer Peter Hill as nonexecutive director and chairperson to succeed founder and chairman, Adonis Pouroulis, at the end of March 2020.
The company, which dropped the role of chief operating officer last month because of a management restructuring, said Hill will join on Jan. 1 as chairperson designate.
Pouroulis, who founded Petra in 1997 and has been its chairman ever since, will in turn step down on March 31.
The upcoming executive began his career in the gold division of Anglo American, moving later to Rossing Uranium in Namibia, then to London as mining engineer with the then BP Minerals, and finally joining Consolidated Gold Fields.
Petra has been seeking to turn around its fortunes after piling up debt to expand its iconic Cullinan mine, in South Africa, where the world’s largest-ever diamond was found in 1905.
In September, it reported a 22% drop in annual profit amid falling diamond prices and the company’s investment in Cullinan aimed at reviving the aging operation. The company’s share price collapsed to a record low as it also revealed it was writing down the value of its mines.
Diamond miners and traders have been hit hard this year by weak market conditions, which have taken a major toll on producers of small stones due to an oversupply in that segment.
The situation, some key actors say, is about to change, as the first signs of stabilization in the sector are starting to appear.
The world’s top diamond producer by output, Alrosa (MCX:ALRS) said last week it had “evidence” that prices for a variety of diamond products edged higher in October and November, with prospects for de-stocking now more visible.
Industry consultant Bain & Co., however, believes that while the glut that’s depressing the diamond market will probably be cleared early next year, it will take at least another 12 months for the market to fully recover.
“The industry’s first and strongest opportunity to rebalance and regain growth will be 2021,” said Bain in a report, adding that supply could fall 8% that year.