Igi: Blackstone buys diamond grading co IGI for $535mn

MUMBAI: Blackstone, the world’s largest alternative asset manager, has acquired Belgian diamond grading firm International Gemological Institute (IGI), whose majority revenue and profits come from India, for $535 million.
Blackstone’s private equity funds acquired IGI from Shanghai Yuyuan Tourist Mart, a subsidiary of China’s Fosun, and Roland Lorie, a member of IGI’s founding family.
Founded in 1975 in Antwerp, Belgium, IGI is a market leader in certification of diamonds, gemstones and jewellery. IGI has 29 laboratories globally — 18 of which are in India. It is also the first gemological laboratory in the world to hold ISO accreditation for both natural and lab-grown diamonds.
The acquisition of IGI marks a significant milestone in their expansion plans and reinforces India’s prominence in the global gemology landscape, Blackstone said. Nearly 90% of rough diamonds are polished in India, the asset manager added. “IGI has led the way in certifying natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds, and coloured stones, emerging as a global market leader that instils confidence in manufacturers, retailers, and consumers worldwide. We are excited to bring the expertise of Blackstone to the business, leveraging our operational capabilities, technological advancements, and successful track record in building thriving enterprises to support IGI’s expansion on a global scale,” Mukesh Mehta, senior managing director in Blackstone’s private equity group, said.

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