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Temporary boycott at Gemfields auction after tussle between Gemfields CEO and an Indian buyer
Ian Harebottle, CEO, Gemfields apologised to Vijay Kedia for his behaviour during auction in Lusaka
By: Diamond World News Service
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Apr 19 2016 5:21PM
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Reference: 12919  

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Gemfields auction in Zambia which fetched US$ 33.1 million recently had a rough start due to tussle between Ian Harebottle, CEO, Gemfields PLC and Vijay Kedia, President, Jewellers Association, Jaipur.  

According to internal sources, during the opening ceremony of the auction, when Gemfields team and Zambian Ministry had gathered to address the buyers and local media; Ian Harebottle took Vijay Kedia out of the stage middle of the speech and asked Security personnel to keep him out.  

Vijay Kedia was talking about the contribution Jaipur has brought to Gemfields’ revenue, which has increased from mere US$ 2 million to 32 Million per auction today. Reason for Ian Harebottle’s reaction is still not known. However, this resulted in all the Indian buyers boycotting and refusing to participate in the auction. Realising the enormity of the situation and its consequences, which could have brought down the share prices drastically and may have resulted in expulsion, Ian Harebottle apologised to Vijay Kedia and all other buyers.

Post the apology, auction continued but the incident has been highly criticised by the industry. Gemfields is highly dependent on Indian buyers; in fact more than 90 per cent of the goods are bought by Indians in India or abroad. All Kedia was asking of Gemfields was a representative in the company, so that the date of auction and many other related things can be done as per buyer’s convenience.

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