Partnership will allow company to expand offerings in a growing diamond market, strengthen ability to serve the global industry
On September 11, Fosun announced it is acquiring 80% of International Gemological Institute (IGI), through Yuyuan Inc., its holding company for the consumer sector.
IGI, headquartered in Belgium and established in 1975, is a well-known gemological training and diamond grading organization. Managed by family stakeholders since its establishment, IGI has created a global diamond, gem and jewelry certification and gemological education company, serving a wide range of partners in the diamond and jewelry industry, including a broad range of local and international diamond retailers. IGI was also the first international gem grading organization to expand globally and, in particular, enter India, the largest diamond cutting center in the world. Today IGI operates 23 laboratories and schools around the world.
The Lorie family will retain 20% of the ultimate economic interest in IGI. Roland Lorie has been actively managing the business, together with his late father Marcel Lorie, and his successive partners Herman and Marc Brauner, as well as Jerry Ehrenwald. Roland Lorie will remain managing the company and help develop and implement future global growth strategies.
“The diamond and gemstone industry is growing steadily and the interest of this large conglomerate to invest in IGI shows the confidence it has in our industry. As demand for certification increases, the investment from Yuyuan of Fosun will significantly accelerate our core business, offering and presenting many new opportunities all over the globe,” says Roland Lorié, IGI CEO. “By combining our resources, we are more equipped than ever to continue to provide consumers and retailers with the information and assurance they need to navigate their jewelry buying decisions.”
In addition to evaluating gemstone and diamond jewelry, the Institute is known for its School of Gemology, which offers educational services and includes courses in polished diamonds, rough diamonds, colored stones, pearls and retail support.
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. Its portfolio includes brand names such as Fidelidade, Tsingtao Brewery, Club Med, Liberty 28 Plaza in downtown Manhattan, and many more.
“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 Xu Xiaoliang, Executive Director and co-President of Fosun, and also Chairman of Yuyuan Inc. “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.”
Marc Brauner resigns as co-CEO after having brought Fosun and IGI together
Following a career of 30 years with the group – that spanned all the crucial highlights of its existence over the period, including the opening of its Indian subsidiary – Marc Brauner has decided to leave the group, along with his eldest son Youry, and pursue other interests. “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, ” says Marc Brauner. “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.”
Marc joined the IGI laboratory department after 4 years as a diamond polisher and 4 years of gem trading. Under the guidance of Herman “Zwi” Brauner, Marc’s father and co-founder of IGI, the Group rapidly grew at a time when both services offered (gemstone certification and professional training) were seeing an increasing demand, and Marc’s responsibilities developed in parallel with that expansion.
A certified gemologist, Marc dedicated both his expertise and business acumen to the complete service of the organization. Over the last 15 years, while presiding over the Group’s development in the Asia Pacific region, Marc Brauner, as co-CEO, has been driving strategic initiatives across the world.