Emerald buying remains strong

Precious stones producer Gemfields’s revenue for the first half more than doubled as demand for its emeralds mined in Zambia grew and prices per carat continued to rise. Gemfields, which produces about a fifth of the world’s rough emeralds, said revenue soared 137 percent to $65.7 million (R705.5m) in the six months to December last year. Last month Gemfields reported record revenue of $36.5m from its latest auction in Zambia. The average price hit a record high of $59.31 a carat in the auctions held in February. Gemfields sold output from its flagship Kagem mine around the world until the Zambian government said in April last year that all emeralds mined in the country must be auctioned there. “Auction prices, despite the location switching to Lusaka, have been strong as demand for Zambian emeralds strengthens,” JPMorgan Cazenove analyst Alexander Mees wrote in a note to clients. – Reuters


Nadella wields the broom

In an effort to reignite growth, newly appointed Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella is shuffling management, putting Mark Penn in the new role of chief strategy officer, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Tony Bates, who was passed over for the chief executive job, was leaving the company, with Eric Rudder, the head of advanced strategy, taking over his duties as executive vice-president of business development, said the people, who asked not to be identified. Tami Reller, the executive vice-president of marketing, was leaving and would be replaced by chief marketing officer Chris Capossela, the people said. The shake-up is the most extensive yet for Nadella, who was appointed last month after a five-month search. – Bloomberg