Feature-goodbye London, Hello Gaborone: De Beers Sales Head To Africa

The 2011 decision to move – which will cost more than $120 million, including shiny new offices in Gaborone – follows years of negotiations between Anglo-American-owned De Beers and Botswana, the largest producer of gem diamonds and home to mines like Jwaneng, the world’s richest. The move secured a new 10-year contract for the sorting, valuing and sales of diamonds from the Botswana mines run by Debswana, a 50:50 joint venture between De Beers and the southern African country’s government – the longest sales contract agreed to date between the two sides. It will shift more than $6 billion of annual rough diamond sales from an international financial centre to a comparative backwater with a population of 230,000, in one of the most dramatic examples of a producing country battling successfully to keep value and profits from the raw materials at home. The change will test Botswana’s ability to develop skills and services, lower an unemployment rate stuck at roughly 18 percent and diversify an economy still dependent on diamonds for more than 80 percent of exports. By separating sales from corporate headquarters, the move is also arguably the biggest challenge De Beers has faced to the way it does business since the current sales model was set up nearly a century ago to secure its then-dominant position. END OF AN ERA The shift south, long expected in one form or another, raises practical questions – visa difficulties, a lack of direct flights and suitable hotels – but has also sparked a debate around the future of De Beers and its role in the gem market. Still the world’s largest producer by value, De Beers was taken over by Anglo American in a deal completed last year which bought out the Oppenheimer family, cutting direct links to the dynasty that ran the firm for almost a century. “It is what you would call the end of an era, but it should not be seen as a negative, it should be seen as the natural progression of the industry,” Kieron Hodgson, an equity analyst at Charles Stanley in London. Others are less sanguine. “I don’t think any of them really want to be (in Gaborone), but they don’t have a choice as the diamonds are in the ground there,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Des Kilalea. “It is akin to saying we won’t have an London Metal Exchange, you’ll have to go to Chile to get your copper. It is blatantly inefficient – though in terms of politics and development, if I were president I’d do the same.” De Beers has already moved its diamond sorting and aggregation businesses – the operations that sift through the production from each mine and bring the gems together before they are allocated to buyers – to Gaborone. It has also been supporting cutting and polishing operations by making more diamonds available locally – encouraging international firms like Tannenbaum’s to grow there. The Leo Schachter group now employs some 300 people in Botswana.

Football Thursday: Can ‘Madden’ video game do more to help NFL in London than the Jaguars?

They don’t want a team that has won seven games since 2011 and seems unlikely to win another one anytime soon. In fact, they might not want an NFL team at all. The irony of this is there are a lot of people in London who love the NFL. The league puts this number at two million basing the figure on telephone surveys it has commissioned, ticket sales and interviews it conducts with fans after the games it plays here. But most of those two million have a team to which they have sworn their life’s affections and nothing will wrest that club’s jersey off their backs. Certainly it won’t be the Jaguars if they decide to move here full time. It is a sentiment best expressed by Gur Samuel , the author of the London football blog pullinglinemen.com , as he stood outside Wembley Stadium last Sunday in a white Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey and said: “I would want to buy Jaguars season tickets to support it because I don’t want it to fail, but I don’t think I can give up watching Bucs games to come out here.” View gallery . The Jags made their presence felt in London, even before their Oct. 27 game scheduled at Wembley Stadium. (Y Sports) The NFL has been serious for some time about moving a team to London. Too many hints have been dropped and arrangements made. An annual one-game experiment has been moved to two games this year and will likely grow to three next fall. After that the only way to continue growing is to move an existing team across the Atlantic. “If that’s going to happen it’s going to happen in the next 10 years, it could be sooner,” Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II, a member of the league’s international committee said last week.

Top London banker’s effort to clear name nears end

Even if the tribunal backs the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the regulator which replaced Britain’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) earlier this year, the judges will still have to decide if a fine is warranted, and if so how much. Hannam was accused in 2012 by the then FSA of sending two emails in 2008 on behalf of a client, Heritage Oil, which included what the regulator considered “inside” or market-moving information. The emails, out of a batch of 20,000, were pored over after Hannam himself blew the whistle on an unrelated insider trade. No-one traded on the information in Hannam’s emails and the regulator did not remove his “fit and proper” status, required for working in London’s financial sector. But the regulator, which has sought to make an example of a banking heavyweight, has accused Hannam of having a “relaxed and improper attitude to confidentiality”. Hannam, who was disciplined by JP Morgan in 2009 around the time the FSA began its investigation, denies the statements in the emails constituted inside information and argues that the disclosures were made in the course of his work and for the benefit of the client. Partly due to Hannam’s candid admissions during questioning, that argument has fuelled debate over what should count as inside information and what is legitimate for a banker to do and say. “I either made it up or I was putting a spin on it to get a meeting (with the minister),” Hannam told the tribunal in July of takeover talks revealed to a Kurdish minister in one of the 2008 emails. “I know everything I was doing was to further the transaction.” His appeal is also a high-profile test for the FCA’s tactic of targeting big names to fight market abuse, following the strategy of U.S. watchdogs. Rebuilding his reputation is critical for Hannam, who is building up a gold venture in Afghanistan and an advisory firm Strand Partners, which includes some of the JP Morgan team who were among the most influential in the sector. @yahoofinance on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook Related Content Chart Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the “Enter symbol/company” at the bottom of this module. You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes.

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