April 10, 2018 / 1:59 PM / 6 months ago

Jeweller De Grisogono to cut jobs amid weak sales

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss jewellery and watch brand De Grisogono plans to cut 41 jobs after sales of its high-end jewellery pieces fell short of expectations.

FILE PHOTO: Jewellery company de Grisogono displays the Constellation rough diamond, measuring over six centimetres wide during a news conference in Paris, France, September 9, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

The brand said it had to reduce production capacity to reflect the “challenging conditions in some key markets,” scaling back ambitions to become the world’s leading high-end jewellery and watch brand.

It plans to cut 31 positions in Switzerland out of a total of 104, and up to 10 worldwide, it said in a statement published on Monday.

The brand founded by Fawaz Gruosi in 1993 said it wanted to focus on more affordable fine jewellery pieces, which have made it a success in the past. A spokeswoman declined to comment further.

De Grisogono, backed by Angolan investors since 2012, acquired the rights to a 404-carat Angolan rough diamond in 2016 that was then cut to 163 carat and set in a necklace by Gruosi.

It was the largest flawless white diamond ever to come to auction when sold for $33.7 million at Christie’s in Geneva last November, but experts said at the time the price showed the top end of the diamond market was under pressure. [nL8N1NL29B]

Bloomberg reported in December that Angolan state-owned diamond company Sodiam was divesting a stake in De Grisogono, controlled by the husband of the former Angolan president’s billionaire daughter, as the country’s new leader untangled it from the business interests of his predecessor’s family.

President Joao Lourenco succeeded long-time Angolan leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos last September, pledging to tackle an endemic culture of corruption. [nL8N1R83S6]

Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Mark Potter

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