Executive pay was also reduced.

Staff cuts are among the changes that private equity firm Pallinghurst has made since acquiring colored-gemstone mining firm Gemfields.

Pallinghurst said in a statement that "the integration of the Gemfields and Pallinghurst teams has been successfully implemented," with the headcount at the London head office reduced by about 15 percent. Additional cuts were made at the Gemfields offices in New York and India.

The Pallinghurst executive team and compensation packages have also been restructured, according to the statement. Executive Director Priyank Thapliyal has stepped down to become full-time CEO of Jupiter Mines Ltd. And Brian Gilbertson will become non-executive chairman as of December 2017. Those changes and additional voluntary salary reductions will reduce the executive team's total compensation to the executive by more than 50 percent, the company stated.

The Pallinghurst executive management team will consist of Arne H. Frandsen, CEO; Andrew Willis, finance director; and Sean Gilbertson, Gemstones.

In September, Gemfields had moved certain operations, including marketing and public relations operations as well as the company's polished-gemstone sales division, to London from New York, with about a half-dozen jobs affected.

With the integration of Gemfields complete, Pallinghurst said an "early but significant turnaround" has been achieved.

Immediately after the takeover, it was clear that two key issues needed to be addressed, according to the statement.

The first was the debt of Gemfields, which had grown from about $17 million in mid-2014 to about $84 million.

"The indicated remedies for this were to reduce costs as far as reasonably possible and to seek ways to increase revenues," the company said.

The second issue was the $54 million decline in revenue from Kagem in the financial year ending  in June 2017, caused by a fall in the production of premium emeralds. The company stated that "operating procedures and structures were re-visited to seek to improve and revitalise production."

During the first four months since the acquisition, Pallinghurst has recorded these achievements:

  • In October, an auction of higher-quality emeralds in Lusaka generated revenue of about $21 million at an average price per carat of over $66, the second-highest price ever achieved. All of the offered emeralds were sold.
  • In November, the auction of high and commercial grade rough rubies in Singapore generated a record $55 million from the sale of 605,000 carats. The average realized price was over $90 per carat.
  • MRM will have a record year in 2017, with revenue of more than $109 million.
  • The past three months of production at Kagem have generated about 40,000 carats of premium emeralds. This compares to production figures of 7,940 carats for calendar Q1 2017 and 11,310 carats for calendar Q2 2017 (the two quarters prior to Pallinghurst acquisition of Gemfields).
  • Jupiter Mines announced record levels of production and profitability, with the Tshipi manganese mine on target to produce over 3 million tonnes for its financial year ending Feb. 28, 2018.
  • Pallinghurst has received distributions of $15 million in 2017 from Jupiter Mines. In November, Jupiter Mines indicated that a further $25 million distribution could be expected in the first half of 2018. In that event, Pallinghurst would expect to receive a further $5 million.
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