Petra Diamonds Limited announced that its rough diamond production for the first quarter of fiscal 2019 (July 1 - September 30, 2018) was 1.07 million carats, up 21 percent from the 883,803 carats produced in the first quarter of the previous fiscal year. Revenue for the period of $80.2 million from the sale of 626,541 carats sold, was up 22 percent over the $65.8 million from 586,571 carats sold in the same period last year.
Petra said diamond prices for the quarter were down 5 percent in a like-for-like comparison with fiscal 2018 due to the usual seasonal weakness that was partially offset by the improvement in product mix.
Net debt September 30 last stood at $538.9 million as against $520.7 million on June 30 this year. This increase in debt was, however, in line with expectations and takes into account an increase in diamond inventories, valued at $91.6 million at period end (as against $54 million on June 30), Petra said.
The South African rand also continued to weaken against the US dollar during the period, but Petra said it was on track to generate free cash flow in fiscal 2019.
Company CEO Johan Dippenaar commented, “The first quarter of FY 2019 shows solid operational delivery, underpinned by strong safety performance, with the ramp up of our expansion programmes leading to a healthy increase in run-of-mine carat production, thereby supporting our expectation of free cash flow generation and subsequent debt reduction.”