Laurence Graff has, in the words of one admirer, “a feeling for gem stones that is almost unrivalled”. He has also shown a knack for following the money.
Listing his Graff Diamonds company to raise almost $1 billion on the Hong Kong stock exchange, which for the past three years has been the largest market for new share sales in the world, looks likely to be the latest example of the latter skill.
For himself and his wider family, it will mean a total cash windfall of up $650 million if the listing – which enters its final week of marketing this week – proves popular enough to require an “overallotment” option.
The Hong Kong listing is meant to deliver not only the investors happy to back a high-end brand in volatile stock markets, but also a bridgehead for the company’s move into the blossoming Chinese market.
The self-made Mr Graff has managed to catch two previous waves of burgeoning wealth. The first was among the newly cash-rich oil sheikhs of the 1970s who frequented his first flagship store in their London playground of Knightsbridge.
Then, in the 1990s, his move to Mayfair was in sync with the neighborhood's takeover by Russian oligarchs and hedge fund managers.Page 1 of 5 | Next Page