Private equity funds managed by Blackstone have acquired the International Gemological Institute (IGI) from Shanghai Yuyuan Tourist Mart (Group) Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of Fosun, and Roland Lorie of the founding family.
Sources indicate that the sale price approximately $530 million, although this is yet to be confirmed.
IGI’s Impact on the Jewellery Industry
IGI, founded in 1975 in Antwerp, holds the title of the world’s first gemological laboratory to hold ISO accreditation in both natural and lab-grown diamonds.
With a global presence of 29 laboratories and 18 schools of gemology across 10 countries, it has emerged as a leader in independent certification of diamonds, gemstones, and jewellery. Since 2005, IGI has led the certification of lab-grown diamonds, aiding the authentication and standardisation of a rapidly growing industry.
Roland Lorie, Chief Executive Officer of IGI, stated, “IGI has had a successful track record for close to 50 years since we founded the company, and we are pleased to entrust Blackstone to take IGI on to its next stage of development.” He also expressed his intent to “grow the business exponentially” under the patronage of Blackstone.
IGI on an upward trajectory
IGI’s net profit after tax rose 20% to $34.5 million in 2022, with total assets of approximately $83.2 million and net assets of $59 million.
Haide Hong, a Senior Managing Director in Blackstone Private Equity Group, said: “We have been hugely impressed by the development of IGI under the strong leadership of its management team and with the support of Fosun, and we are excited to partner with IGI to help accelerate its growth trajectory. With its strong brand and reputation of upholding the highest standards of quality and authenticity, IGI is well-positioned to benefit from the increasing popularity of gemology.”