(Adds executive comment on diamond pricing)
By Susan Taylor
TORONTO, April 13 Canada's Dominion Diamond Corp
has not had any contact with Washington Corp
since the privately held company made public its unsolicited
$1.1 billion offer in late March, said Dominion Chairman Jim
Gowans on Thursday.
Calgary, Alberta-based Dominion launched a formal sale
process on March 27, after the approach by U.S. billionaire
Dennis Washington. Dominion has repeatedly offered
to engage with Washington Corp on "customary terms," Gowans said
on a conference call with analysts, but that has not happened.
Dominion, which is seeking a new chief executive officer, is
pleased with the progress of its strategic review process,
Gowans said, but he would not answer a question on whether there
was more than one party interested in the miner.
Prices for smaller, cheaper stones have dropped by 25
percent from the end of the third quarter, said executive vice
president James Pounds on a call to discuss the company's
fourth-quarter results. Prices for larger, better-quality stones
had held up, due to lower stocks, he said.
Overall, rough diamond prices dropped by 7 percent, said the
company, which expects demand for smaller diamonds to recover by
the end of its second fiscal quarter this year.
Last November, India scrapped smaller bank notes as part of
a surprise clamp-down on cash businesses. That hurt the
country's cutting and polishing industry for small stones,
typically below 1 carat, driving demand and prices lower.
"Dominion remains somewhat cautious on the impact of Indian
demonetisation, but was constructive on the Indian jewelry
retail demand and returning demand from China," said BMO analyst
Edward Sterck in a note to clients following the call.
(Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Matthew Lewis)