Mumbai: De Beers, the world's largest diamond producer, has said the business in the country will continue to grow this year despite dampened sentiments following Nirav Modi-led PNB fraud.
"There has been this banking scandal, that is clearly a fraud, and had certainly dampened sentiments little bit.... But having said that, I think consumer demand in India, as we have Forevermark brand, is doing very well.
"It's been an unfortunate incident but the demand in India this year would be reversed, would be good and the business in India will continue to grow in 2018," De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver told PTI here.
Diamond merchants Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are alleged to have perpetrated the country's biggest banking sector scam of Rs 13,000 crore at Punjab National Bank, mainly by way of issuance of fraudulent Letters of Undertaking (LoUs).
The Centre has also intervened in the bankruptcy proceedings of Nirav Modi firms in the US to protect the interests of PNB. Meanwhile, Cleaver said the consumer sentiment clearly has been good at the moment as the first quarter result was robust in India.
"February has been a strong month followed by March, across the industry... we are conscious that we still need to create more awareness about diamonds as a commodity and business and there will be a lot of communication in that regard this year," he added.
India will grow exceptionally, which was affected since last two year due to implementation of goods and services tax (GST) and demonetisation, he said.
"We see tremendous opportunity in the consumer market, and India and China present enormous opportunity for us," he added. Forevermark India President Sachin Jain said that last year has been exceptionally good for the brand.
"Our business grew over a 100 per cent, which was a rare year and we saw a continuation of this in the first quarter of this year. I see a emergence of lot of organised retail players.
"Organised players are expanding rapidly in bigger cities, also I see influx of bigger independents in smaller towns and gaining much faster," Jain added. Forevermark is present in 48 markets across the country, which will expand to about 52 markets, mainly in tier II and III cities, he noted.
"We will be growing but the idea is also to increase our share with partners we work with. South has been our strongest market, which is followed by the east. West and north are at the same level," Jain said. The company will now focus on the northern region of the country, which is going to to be its growth area, he added.