Some attendees at De Beers’ first sight in Botswana say they heard a very different—and welcome—tone in conversations with De Beers CEO Philippe Mellier.
For a long time, Mellier had told clients complaining about his company’s continued rough price increases—largely seen as a sop to corporate parent Anglo American—that if they don’t want to be sightholders, there were plenty of other companies waiting in line to take their place. And, in fact, the company’s “dynamic” application process — where companies that consistently win the e-auctions at Diamdel get a chance to be sightholders — is generally seen as De Beers developing understudies for existing clients.
But at the most recent allocation, Mellier was more conciliatory, some feel, telling clients that he understands that they need to make money and that De Beers will try to keep their needs more in mind. And the allocation was better received than some of those in the past, leading to an overall better mood among clients.