July 23, 2010 / 8:35 AM / 7 years ago

INTERVIEW-UPDATE 1-De Beers has no plans to IPO at moment-CEO

* Anglo, other shareholders, shown no desire for relisting

* Sources have said IPO is possible option for future

* CEO’s resignation no immediate, to stay on through H2

(Adds detail, background)

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, July 23 (Reuters) - The shareholders of De Beers are not working on re-listing the world’s biggest diamond producer, Chief Executive Gareth Penny said on Friday, reacting to recent speculation.

“Our shareholders have indicated no desire at all to IPO this business. There are not any plans being worked on and that is the bottom line,” Penny told Reuters in an interview.

Sources close to the situation told Reuters in May that De Beers’ owners, including mining group Anglo American (AAL.L), have been considering a possible re-listing of the firm, but felt the time wa not right yet. [ID:nLDE63R08U]

Penny declined to comment on whether an initial public offering was a future option, saying he had no further information to provide.

De Beers is 45 percent owned by mining group Anglo American (AAL.L), 40 percent by South Africa’s Oppenheimer family and 15 percent by the Botswana government.

Penny said a sudden announcement on Friday that he was stepping down was to halt possible rumours as a search began for a replacement.

He was stepping down because he regarded a good time period for a CEO to be effective was five years and he had long told De Beers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer that was his intention.

“I think you have to signal this quite openly to the market that you’re going to engage in this sort of process otherwise the rumour mills just start,” he said.

I‘m not stepping down immediately. I see myself with full time involvement up to the end of Q3 and part time involvement through Q4.”

Initially he planned to take time off to spend with his family before considering a range of future options.

Shifting to the outlook for the global diamond market, Penny said strong growth in Chinese and Indian markets had whittled down the global share of the United States to around 40 percent from 44 percent.

The U.S. market was “pretty flat” at the moment, he said.

Editing by Samia Nakhoul

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