Sarine Technologies

ROUGH DIAMOND

The company was incorporated in 1988 as Borimer Ltd in Israel.

It develop, manufacture, market and sell precision products for processing of diamonds and gemstones. This includes:

  • Determining the optimal yield of rough stones

  • Laser cutting, measuring & analysing of polished diamonds

  • Inscription of polished diamond

  • Providing technology for sales of jewellery in store & online

Geographical Segment

India constitute about 70% of business. Revenue from Africa, Europe, N. America and Israel ranges between 3%-8%. 

Tailwind

In 2008, Sarine acquired Galatea, an automatic inclusion (clarity) mapping system for rough stones. In 2009, the first Galaxy 1000 and 2000 was introduced to the diamond midstream industry. The system enables polishers to improve yield in the diamond planning stage prior to cutting & polishing. Use of equipment were charged a carat-based fee.

Diamond cut & polishers operate on thin margin and the introduction of Galaxy was a game changer, resulting in high growth from 2009-2014.

In 2018, Sarine Inscription system was used for Berkshire Signature Diamond by Warren Buffet. 

Headwind

From 2015, the firm business started to decline due to:

  • High inventory and rough prices

  • Competitors illegal copying of Sarine's software Advisor 5.0

  • Banks credit tightening of liquidity, exacerbated by Nirav Modi of Firestar Diamond $1.8B fraud.

  • US FTC recognition of Lab Grown Diamond (LGD) led to confusion in the industry 

  • Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

These events caused the company share price to fall from $3.20 to low $0.20s by Jul-2020.

Recovery

De Beers sight sale 3 & 4 halted due to Covid-19 have resumed. Sight 7 was up 16% at $334M and Sight 8 was up 57% at $467M YoY. Both De Beers and Alrosa reduced rough prices by 5%-10%.

High quality diamonds above 1.0 carats are in short supply.

Rough suppliers like Alrosa have also taken initiatives to offer midstream buyers alternate sources of finance via ex-bank entities.

Polish activities was at about 80% in Aug20.

As for illicit competitors, actions taken include:

  • Legal action 

  • Enforcing IP in the United States and other countries

  • Initially replaced Advisor 5.0 by 6.0. Most customers have since migrated to Advisor 7.0 and Advisor 8.0 with new features and robust IP protection will be released soon.

  • Develop and sale of small stones equipment Meteor (0.2-0.89 carat) and Meteorite (< 0.4 carat). Robust sales indicate that the firm is gaining ground against illicit competitors. Note: copycats mostly operate in the small stone segment.

About 97% of LGD using HTHP or CVD processes were for industrial usage. In 2018, US FTC reclassify LGD as gemstone. Currently most LGD sold are smaller stones.

De Beers embraced this change by introducing LightBox brand.

LGD generally do not have much resale value, hence is likely to fill the costume jewellery segment of the market.

Since 2018, the company have started entering the retail segment with Sarine Profile & Journey. It essentially provide a report to consumer of a diamond journey from rough to polished form. Tiffany & Co. and numerous retailers have adopted Sarine Profile to engage out-of-state customers over its digital platform. 

Sarine Technologies announcement dated 24 June 2020

E-Grading (4C) using artificial intelligence is expected to be introduced from 2H20. 

Presently diamonds' 4C are graded physically by gemological labs. Local labs require about a week for grading; and two weeks when international shipping is involved. E-Grading allow onsite grading without physical transport & inspection within an hour. 

This is a significant development given Sarine dominant market share (70%) in the midstream segment. Gross margin of this new business is forecasted to be about 60%-70%. 

Opinion

The sharp increase in 1Q20 equipment sales signal a recovery after five years of downturn. Strong sale of Meteor & Meteorite indicate that the firm is winning the battle against illicit competitors. While Covid-19 did dampen recovery, various data points in the value chain points to an improving environment moving forward. 

 

Importantly, sale of 6 units Solaris (1.0 - 2.5 carats) and 1 unit Galaxy Ultra (up to 20 carats) in 1H20 is consistent with news of strong demand for high quality stones larger than a carat. 

This is significant because Sarine key revenue generation comes from activities in larger stones; which are charged per-carat use. See table above. 

It also make sense why Meteor & Meteorite systems are sometimes sold as one-off. 

Significantly, Sarine is expanding from midstream to Retail segment of the jewellery industry whose market size is much larger than midstream. E-Grading using AI could potentially be a game changer in the gemological retail industry.

In the PC world we have Windows; in the Mac world we have MacOS and in the diamond world we have Sarine Advisor. 

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