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De Beers sell-off as "the best thing”:Botswana's president

Botswana's government has greeted news of a De Beers sell-off as "the best thing" and indicated it could increase its 15 per cent stake in the UK-based miner.

Parent company Anglo American announced last month that it would ditch the loss-making company to focus on more profitable commodities, following a takeover bid (since failed) by Australian mining giant BHP.

Botswana's president, Mokgweetsi Masisi , said De Beers needed a new owner who was "in it for the long haul" rather than someone with "impatient capital".

He said that after fending off BHP's $49bn bid Anglo faced the possibility of fresh takeover threats from companies lacking diamond expertise, which would not be good news for De Beers.

Masisi is adamant that Botswana, by far the biggest of the De Beers diamond-producing countries, is critical to the company's future success.

"The value of De Beers is fundamentally created by Botswana. Without Botswana De Beers doesn't exist," he told the US-Africa Business Summit in Dallas, Texas, USA, last month.

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