Diamond giant De Beers will be moving its $6 billion a year international sales operation from London to Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana. The move will affect a large number of employees in the UK. Only 85 staffers out of the 300 London based employees will be transferred to Botswana. The change will cost over $120 million including the construction of the De Beers offices in Gaborone. The decision to move was made in 2011 and follows years of talks between the government of Botswana, the world’s largest producer of diamonds, and De Beers, which is owned by the mining giant Anglo-American.
Founded in 1888, De Beers has been trading out of London since the late 1930s.
“The Botswana government did not come to De Beers and say please transfer your business. The Botswana government said we would like you to sell the Botswana diamonds here,” said Varda Shine of De Beers’ Global Sightholder Sales in an interview with Reuters. “We believe our business model is quite strong and provides value for De Beers and its shareholders – so we came up with the idea of moving the whole business.”