By Michelle Graff
Brussels--KBC announced Thursday that Shanghai-based Yinren Group has acquired its subsidiary Antwerp Diamond Bank (ADB), one of the leading financers of the diamond trade, for an undisclosed sum.

According to a statement from KBC, Yinren Group already has interest in the diamond industry, as well as real estate and international trade. Its operations are located in mainland China, Hong Kong and Brazil.

According to an English version of Yinren’s website, it is involved in investment diamonds, diamond design and sales services, and it owns concessions for diamond mines in Brazil.

“The acquisition of ADB will allow Yinren to leverage upon ADB’s know-how, network and brand reputation in view of the further development of the Chinese market, and to play a role in the interaction between the world’s main diamond centers (including Antwerp, Mumbai, Dubai and Hong Kong) and the upcoming centers of the Far and Middle East,” KBC’s statement reads.

The ADB brand, management team and operations will remain in place, and the bank’s headquarters will stay in Antwerp, though the ADB’s business activities in Mumbai, Dubai and Hong Kong will be “further developed,” according to the statement.

Before the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, closes, part of ADB’s loan portfolio--primarily the higher-risk and non-performing loans with a net book value of 0.4 billion Euros (about $546 million)--will be transferred to KBC Bank N.V. and put in ordinary run-down.

After the deal closes, KBC will provide a total of 0.2 billion Euros (about $273 million) in funding to ADB for a maximum of two years on a secured basis.  

KBC’s sale of ADB has been in the works for a number of years. It’s the last unit sold by KBC under the conditions imposed by the European Commission, which told the bank it had to sell subsidiaries after it received aid to keep it afloat in 2008 and 2009.  

In late November, ADB CEO Pierre De Bosscher told Bloomberg that the company would close its U.S. office, which is located in New York, within six months because the bank’s potential buyers are focused on emerging markets over the United States. The bank’s office in New York employs five people.

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