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A symposium by GJEPC to strengthen the synergy with the financial sector
Attending bankers stressed on expanding exposure in diamond jewellery sector and following prudent risk management norms
By: Diamond World News Service
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Apr 4 2013 8:30PM
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Reference: 7709  

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Post the 2008 meltdown, there has been a sea change in the finance scenario. Just as need for companies to critically handle risk management, currency fluctuations and governance, amongst other aspects grew significantly; so also the banks need to integrate more closely with the industry to deal with credit risk, re-insurance, and more. With a vision to build an understanding and initiate enhanced interaction between the trade and financing institution, the Gems and Jewellery Export Council of India (GJEPC) conducted a symposium on, ‘Emerging trends in financing of Indian diamond & jewellery sector’, on April 3, 2013 in Mumbai. Vipul Shah, Chairman, GJEPC, said that although slowly, but jewellery exports have started moving up with 2.9 per cent growth last witnessed in February 2013. Overall negative growth in gems and jewellery exports have narrowed down to just 1.9 per cent in the first 11 months of the current financial year.

With the Basel III norm coming into play, effective from April 1, 2013, requirement of reserve capital is increased for doing the same size of business and thus the cost of borrowing will rise. However, at the same time the banks will have to look at the clients with stricter due diligence, focusing more on corporatisation and their external & internal investment grade ratings, said Shyamal Acharya, Deputy Managing Director, State Bank of India, India’s largest public sector lender. GJEPC confirmed participants that the industry has started moving up on recovering sentiment in global economies. Although, euro zone economies continue to remain under pressure, the recovery in the US and Asian zone gives a positive indication for gems and jewellery sector growth going forward.

In her opening speech, Chief Guest, Snehlata Shrivastava, Additional Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, said, “The Government of India has declared this sector as the thrust area for generating export demand in the country. Though the industry suffered subdued demand in the cut & polished diamonds segment in 2011-12, I am happy to note that in 2012-13 till February, there has been a growth of 2.49 percent in rupee terms”. Anup Zaveri, Convenor, BITC, in his summit overview said, “The main aim of the seminar is to build confidence amongst the lender and the client, the banking industry and the financial institution and the gems and jewellery industry at large so that the work which has seen India reach the world leader status in diamonds and jewellery continue unhindered with a few black sheep take advantage of the loopholes, if any”.

In the first Session, ‘The changing scenario, new trends and cost of finance in diamond sector’, Saunak Parikh, Co-convenor, BITC, said, “Presently, De Beers, Alrosa, Dominion and Rio Tinto control 75% of the market wherein De Beers’ share is down to 35%. There has been changing ownership of mines and there’s volatility because of no price control and since there’s less mining production in volume, the market is down by 33% from peak of 2006. I feel the future of diamond production is expected to go up to 140 million carats from 118 million with enhanced capacity from Argyle and new Bunder mine in India”. The Session was moderated by Pranay Narvekar, Partner, Pharos Beam Consulting LLP and the key note speakers in the panel discussion included names like Erik A Jens, CEO, ABN AMRO Bank International Diamond and Jewellery Group; NS Kujur, Chief General Manager (Mid Corporate Group), State Bank of India; Karl De Borger, CEO, Antwerp Diamond Bank, India; Russell Mehta, Managing Director, Rosy Blue (India) Pvt Ltd; Vasant Mehta, Vice President, IDMA & WDC, member-committee of administration of GJEPC and Ashish K Mehta, Partner, Kantilal Chhotalal.

In the second session, ‘The changing scenario, new trends and cost of finance in the jewellery sector’, Colin Shah, Founder and Managing Director, Kama Schachter said, “Though the exports of gold have improved over the last three years, the exports from DTA have declined due to lack of availability of gold pan India and capital for technological up gradation. Some of the challenges in the jewellery industry include high cost of finance compared to what is prevalent globally due to the Indian banks’ CRR/SLR and CAR maintenance. There is a low inventory turn in jewellery and hence the need of high working capital”. This Session was moderated by Bhargava N Vaidya, Proprietor, B N Vaidya & Associates, and some of the eminent speakers included names like Shyamal Acharya, Deputy Managing Director (Mid Corporate), State Bank of India; Shobana CHawla, Head, Diamond and Jewellery Business, India, Standard Chartered Bank; Manish, Director Marketing, ScotiaMocatta Precious Metals, India; Konal Doshi, Co-convener, Jewellery Panel, GJEPC and Mehul Choksi, CMD, Gitanjali Group.

In the last session, ‘Risk management and governance’, Rajiv Mehta, CEO, Dimexon, said, “Our industry is mature in terms of margins and growth yet nascent in terms of governance. If some of the strengths of our industry are long term commitment, entrepreneurial drive, strong demand fundamentals and consumer connect; our weaknesses are low margins, fragmented players, price and currency risks and lack of formalization and structure. But there are wonderful opportunities like emergence of new technologies, standardization of product processes, and of course the Gen-Next. Last but not the least there are certain threats like disclosures of synthetic diamonds, absence of new mines and other luxury products”.

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