Richemont Group has acquired historic Buccellati, an Italian jeweller previously owned by China’s Gangtai Group. It is now the third jewellery brand beside Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels

Richemont has acquired Italian jewellery brand Buccellati. According to analyst firm McKinsey & Company:  With annual global jewellery sales of €148 billion expected to grow at a healthy clip of 5 to 6 percent each year, the industry will total €250 billion by 2020 even with appetite for jewellery dampened by global recession.

Richemont Group’s own quarterly earnings report support McKinsey’s assertion as well with revenues from Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels bolstering performance. Jewellery posted strong double digit growth (10%) ending Fiscal Year 2019, but even in a weaker first quarters of FY2020, still registered a 6% increase in sales, driven by the Jewellery Maisons. Hence, it makes sense that to add Italian Jeweller Buccellati to Richemont Group’s portfolio of jewellery brands.

Zhang Ziyi fronted a Buccellati soon after its acquisition by the Chinese investment corp.

Italian Jeweller Buccellati joins Richemont Group alongside Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels

According to Reuters, Chinese investment company Gangtai Group Corp acquired an 85 percent majority stake in the Milanese Jeweller Buccellati from Italian equity firm Clessidra for $250 million, or 6.6 times its revenues with the namesake family itself holding its remain shares.

With specialist watchmakers down 2% over April-June 2019 compared to the same period in 2018, jewellery has grown increasingly important for Richemont for its resilience during economic slowdowns. The acquisition was successfully completed late August, Clessidra had previously held talks to sell a controlling stake in Buccellati to the owner of Cartier, but was unable to reach an agreement in 2016.

Anonymous sources speaking to claimed that Buccellati, one of Italy’s last high-end independent jewellers was actively seeking a buyer after its new Chinese owners pulled the plug on a 200-million-euro expansion plan.

Andrea Buccellati, honorary chairman and creative director of Buccellati, and daughter, a designer within the brand

“We are extremely glad to have successfully contributed to the introduction of the prestigious Buccellati brand in the Greater China market, strengthening Buccellati’s identity and enhancing all of the elements which make it one of the best-known brands worldwide in the fine jewelry sector. We are now honored and proud that Richemont will continue the journey, ensuring Buccellati’s great success, starting from the celebration of its 100th anniversary.” – Xu Jiangang, founder and chairman of Gangtai Group

According to Forbes, Shanghai-based Gangtai focuses on consumer, culture, finance and health sectors; its subsidiary Gangsu Gangtai Holding (Group) Co. Ltd, is a leading internet jewelry retailer in China and a major distributor of gold jewelry. The subsidiary ran into troubles with Beijing and with increasing capital controls, was unable to  transfer funds out of China to finance Buccellati’s production, marketing and plans to open 88 boutiques as planned.

Holding company Gangtai too fell foul of a Chinese government crackdown on credit and was forced to sell prized assets to pay down debt. It is highly likely that Buccellati was sold to Richemont Group at nowhere the amount they paid.

A statement from Richemont said that the transaction closed on September 26 and will have no material financial impact on the Group’s consolidated net assets or operating result for the year ending March 31, 2020.