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HB Antwerp Removes Co-Founder from Management Amidst Differences over Strategy

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Diamond processor and trader HB Antwerp has announced the removal of one of its co-founders from management due to differences over strategy. Oded Mansori, who co-founded the company in 2020 with Shai de Toledo and Rafael Papismedov, plans to take his partners to court in response to the decision.

HB Antwerp stated that Mansori’s management role in all the HB Companies was terminated on September 1, citing “sharp differences in strategic vision and approaches to business.” Meanwhile, Mansori expressed his determination to defend his vision and fight for the future of HB. He confirmed that legal proceedings are currently underway.

The government of Botswana, the world’s leading diamond producer by value, announced in March that it had agreed to purchase a 24% stake in HB Antwerp. The deal, which also involves state-owned Okavango Diamond Company, has not yet been finalized. As part of the agreement, Okavango Diamond Company will supply HB Antwerp with an undisclosed quantity of rough diamonds for a period of five years.

While the legal dispute unfolds, it remains uncertain whether the pending sales agreement between HB Antwerp and major producer Botswana will be affected. HB Antwerp also has a partnership with Lucara Diamond Corp, purchasing high-quality stones from the company’s Karowe Mine in central Botswana. Lucara Diamond Corp has not yet commented on the potential impact of the legal tussle on its own deal with HB Antwerp.

In 2022, HB Antwerp collaborated with Microsoft to implement blockchain technology in order to track mined gems. This move aims to address consumer concerns about fraudulent practices and the sale of diamonds sourced from conflict zones that fund insurgencies. Other diamond miners, including De Beers, also utilize blockchain platforms to trace their diamonds and verify authenticity.

The removal of Oded Mansori from the management of HB Antwerp raises questions about the future direction of the company. As the legal battle unfolds, stakeholders in the diamond industry will closely monitor the situation, particularly the potential impact on the pending sales agreement with the Botswana government. Additionally, the partnership with Lucara Diamond Corp and the use of blockchain technology to ensure the transparency of the supply chain will be areas of interest for industry observers.

More detail via Reuters here… ( Image via Reuters )

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