Dermot Desmond-backed diamond miner quits Nasdaq stock market

Mountain Province quits secondary listing in New York but will keep primary listing in Toronto

Irish businessman Dermot Desmond is Mountain Province Diamonds’ biggest shareholder. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Irish businessman Dermot Desmond is Mountain Province Diamonds’ biggest shareholder. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Mountain Province Diamonds, a Canadian mining company whose biggest shareholder is Irish businessman Dermot Desmond, has delisted from the Nasdaq stock exchange.

However, the company, which owns 49 per cent of the substantial Gahcho Kue diamond mine in the Arctic tundra, will keep its primary listing in Toronto, Canada.

It has chosen to voluntarily quit its secondary listing in New York, six months after it was warned by the Nasdaq that it no longer met certain listing requirements.

Nasdaq authorities wrote to Mountain Province Diamonds last August, to highlight that its share price has fallen below the requirement to maintain a bid share price of at least $1. If a Nasdaq-listed company falls below the $1 mark for 30 consecutive days, it gets a written warning.

Mountain Province was at about 95 cent when it received its warning, which gave it until this month to come back into compliance. On Monday, it traded at about 83 cent on the Nasdaq, where close to one fifth of its trading volume took place over the past year, according to Bloomberg data.

The company has now chosen to end its listing on the exchange, which is more closely associated with technology companies. It told investors that trading in its shares will be suspended on the Nasdaq by February 11th, and it will formally delist by February 20th.

File reports

It will still have to file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States, but it intends to end its SEC registration in future “when permitted under SEC rules”.

It said the cost of its Nasdaq listing was “no longer justified” due to the relatively small proportion of its trading conducted in New York. The company said it is “evaluating alternative platforms for future listings in order to increase liquidity”.

Investors have cooled on some diamond miners recently for myriad reasons, including increasing competition from cheaper lab-grown synthetic diamonds.

Last month, Mountain Province announced its full-year gem sales of 276.3 million Canadian dollars (€187.8 million), down 11 per cent. It said it believed sentiment in the diamond industry had begun to improve in late 2019.

The company is chaired by Jonathan Comerford, an employee of Mr Desmond’s International Investment and Underwriting vehicle. His son, Brett Desmond, also sits on the board.