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Damas loses half a billion dollars

Jeweller remains almost $900 million in debt.

August 1, 2010 2:33 by

Jeweller Damas International said on Sunday it made a full-year net loss of 1.91 billion UAE dirhams ($520 million), after provisions and non-recurring charges of 1.9 billion dirhams.

Before the expenses and impairments, the company made a net profit of 9.7 million dirhams for the period ending March 31, it said in a statement on the bourse website.

The Dubai-based jeweller said in July it had extended to Sept. 30 a standstill agreement with lenders on $872 million in debt, after banks approved the extension.

The firm said on Sunday it maintained a gross profit margin of 17 percent during the full-year period, while revenues of 3.3 billion dirhams were down 31 percent.

Damas said it was focused on “recovering outstanding receivables held by counterparties”.

The jeweller has been in talks with banks to restructure its debt. Its some 20 banks include Barclays and BNP Paribas.

The firm is attempting to recover $165 million lost in “unauthorised transactions” with its founders, the Abdullah Brothers.

(Reporting by Tamara Walid; Editing by Jason Neely)

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