This article was originally written by Michelle Graff for National Jeweler and published on January 17, 2023.
New York—Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd. is considering selling its stake in the International Gemological Institute.
Bloomberg first reported the news last Thursday and IGI CEO Roland Lorie confirmed the report to National Jeweler via email on Friday, stating that news of the potential sale is evidence of the lab’s strength.
“IGI’s primary goal is to provide proper information and education to the public and we are happy to see many potential investors are sharing this view,” Lorie wrote.
“After several fruitful years of growth and excellence alongside the diamond industry, the shareholders believe IGI is to enter a new growth phase and are currently reviewing candidate investors to further grow the company vision.”
He added IGI “is and remains” an “independent expertise company” headed by himself and the lab’s managers worldwide.
Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg said the deal valued the Antwerp-based grading lab at about 200 million Euros ($215 million).
Its potential sale is part of a broader effort by Fosun to strengthen its balance sheet by offloading as much as $11 billion in assets in the coming year, the media outlet reported.
Shanghai Yuyuan Tourist Mart Co. is the unit of Fosun that owns a stake in IGI. It bought the grading lab from shareholders Roland Lorie and Marc Brauner for $108.8 million in a deal announced in 2018.
The Lorie family, which founded the lab, retained the remaining 20 percent, with Roland staying on as CEO. Brauner and his eldest son, Youry Brauner, resigned at the time of the acquisition.
Avi Levy currently oversees IGI in the U.S. market as president of IGI North America.
Fosun is working with Deutsche Bank AG on the potential sale of the lab, according to Bloomberg.