LONDON--BHP Billiton PLC (BLT.LN) said Tuesday it agreed to sell its diamonds business, comprising its interests in the EKATI Diamond Mine in Canada and Diamonds Marketing operations, to Harry Winston Diamond Mines Ltd. for 500 million dollars in cash, saying the divestment is consistent with the company's focus on long-life, low-cost upstream assets and reflects its pursuit of a simpler business.
-Completion expected in 1Q13
-All BHP Billiton employees working at EKATI, in Yellowknife and in Diamonds Marketing in Antwerp will become employees of Harry Winston as part of the transaction.
-The divestment of EKATI will result in an impairment of $200 million (post tax) to the carrying value of the asset which will be reflected as an exceptional item in BHP Billiton's financial results.
-Shares at 1422 GMT down 25 pence or 1.3% in London at 1,925 pence valuing the company at GBP40.7 billion.
-Write to Ed Ballard at email@example.com