De Beers topped analyst forecasts with a 7 percent sales increase in 2003, to $5.5 billion.
The sales growth was driven by strong U.S. demand, as well as demand from India, China and the United Kingdom. Japan recorded growth for the first time in years.
De Beers’ contribution to Anglo American, which owns 45 percent of it, would be $386 million for the year, from $324 million the previous year. That is nearly a fifth of Anglo’s overall profits.
Headline earnings were $714 million, compared with $685 million in 2003. Operating cash flow of $1.6 billion let De Beers reduce net interest-bearing debt from $1.7 billion to $906 million.
In a statement, the company said “2003 was overall a good year,” and it expected 2004 to be even better, due to increased investment in branding and marketing.
The appreciation of the rand against the dollar put a strain on its profit margins. In December, it cut 442 jobs, through voluntary separation packages.