By Gordon Deegan
Pre-tax profits more than doubled at industrial diamond manufacturer Element Six — in which De Beers has a large stake — to $30.8m (€27m) last year.
New accounts filed by the Shannon-based firm show that the firm achieved the sharp rise in profits as revenues increased by 32% from $194.4m to $258.8m.
The directors said the main challenges this year “were ramping up supply in the face of strong customer demand, in particular from the oil and gas industry”. The firm paid a dividend of $20m last year.
The Shannon plant is a key part of the Element Six network of factories and last year announced plans to increase staff numbers to 550 from 535 people it employed at the end of 2017 amid a capital injection of $7.3m. Staff costs last year increased from $31.5m to $33.63m. The directors said they continued to focus on tight cost control and making efficiencies. Risks to the business, they said, include low-cost competition from Eastern European and Asian suppliers.
“The Element Six group continues to invest in research and development (R&D) into new products and technologies and it is hoped that these will yield increased market share and market growth.”
Back in 2009, 207 workers lost their jobs as part of a survival plan, as the world recession lessened demand for industrial diamonds. The profit last year takes account of hefty non-cash depreciation and amortisation costs, of $12.5m. It posted an operating profit of $31.9m before finance expenses of $1.8m.