UPDATE 1-Harry Winston rises to profit on Asian demand

Thu Dec 9, 2010 5:32pm EST

* Q3 EPS $0.05 vs nil a year ago

* Analysts forecast EPS of $0.09

* Sales rose 88 percent to $140.9 million (In U.S. dollars unless noted)

TORONTO, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Harry Winston Diamond Corp HW.TO shifted to a profit on Thursday as demand in Asia continued to propel rough diamond sales and new stores boosted retail earnings.

For the third quarter ended Oct. 31, Harry Winston earned $3.9 million, or 5 cents a share, up from a loss of $0.2 million, or nil per share, in the year-ago quarter. Profits were hit by a foreign exchange loss of $3 million.

Analysts has estimated, on average, earnings of $9 million, or 9 cents per share.

The Canadian diamond miner and retailer said net revenue climbed 88 percent to $140.9 million from $74.8 million.

Rough diamond sales soared 192 percent to $60.7 million, from $20.8 million.

Rough diamond prices for the quarter rose 20 percent, but the company only achieved a 4 percent price increase due to a change in the ore mix.

Retail sales increased 48 percent to $80.2 million.

Production at the Diavik diamond mine for the quarter was 0.71 million carats, up 115 percent from the year before.

Harry Winston holds a 40 percent stake in Diavik. The majority owner of the mine in Canada's Northwest Territories is mining giant Rio Tinto (RIO.L).

Shares of Harry Winston closed up 1.19 percent at C$14.50 on Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Julie Gordon; editing by Rob Wilson)

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