By Brecken Branstrator
Chinese conglomerate Fosun now owns 80 percent of diamond grading lab International Gemological Institute.
Belgium—Chinese international conglomerate and investment company Fosun will acquire an 80 percent stake in the International Gemological Institute.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. It is being done through Yuyuan Inc., Fosun’s holding company for the consumer sector.

Belgium-headquartered diamond grading lab and gem training center IGI has been managed by family stakeholders since its establishment in 1975.

It claims to be the first international gem grading organization to expand globally and, in particular, to enter India. It currently operates 23 laboratories and schools around the world.

The Lorie family will retain 20 percent of the company.

Roland Lorie has managed the business with his late father and lab co-founder, Marcel Lorie, as well as co-CEOs Herman and Marc Brauner and Jerry Ehrenwald. He will remain with the company after the deal closes, helping develop and implement global growth strategies.

Ehrenwald also will stay on at this time.

Herman Brauner left his role with IGI a few years ago, according to the lab. Marc Brauner, meanwhile, will resign, along with his eldest son, Youry.

Brauner, son of IGI co-founder Herman “Zwi” Brauner, joined the lab after four years as a diamond polisher and four years of gem trading. A certified gemologist, he has been driving the business’ strategic initiatives across the world over the past 15 years as well as presiding over its development in the Asia-Pacific region.

“At a time of industry challenges, partnering with a well-funded and visionary group such as Fosun can be considered the crowning achievement of my career with IGI, and will uniquely position IGI for a bright future,” he said. “I will always fondly remember my years of service in the family enterprise; it grew into a global leader in its field while always remaining, both for its clients and employees, a human-focused business where relationships mattered.”

Fosun is one of China’s biggest investment and operating conglomerates, covering financial services, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, consumer products and real estate, energy and mining.

The company has shown interest in the gem and jewelry trade before.

Last year, Fosun made a bid for Gemfields while the colored gemstone miner’s biggest stakeholder, Pallinghurst, also was making a play for full control of it.

Fosun also is a stakeholder in Greek jewelry company Folli Follie.

“We are very happy to start this partnership with IGI, which provides us a unique opportunity to work with the diamond community around the world,” says Fosun Executive Director and co-President Xu Xiaoliang.

“IGI has built great fundamentals and human capital over the years, with highly respected expertise and input from both the Lorie and Brauner families. We believe IGI is well positioned to bring its gemological knowledge and expertise to emerging markets, including China. We are happy to be part of the future growth of IGI at this exciting stage of the industry’s development.”

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