Gemfields will re­brand Faberge to paint profit

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Silvia An­to­nioli

GEMFIELDS, the world’s largest rough emer­ald pro­ducer, ex­pected to take up to two more years to have stopped the losses at the Faberge jew­ellery business it bought two years ago, the chief ex­ec­u­tive, Ian Hare­bot­tle, said yes­ter­day.

London-listed Gemfields, which mines emer­alds in Zam­bia and ru­bies in Mozam­bique, bought Faberge in the hope that the brand made fa­mous by Peter Carl Faberge’s Rus­sian Easter eggs would help boost de­mand for jew­ellery fea­tur­ing coloured gem­stones.

But while Gemfields as a whole has per­formed strongly since Hare­bot­tle took over as chief ex­ec­u­tive in 2009, thanks to a steep rise in gem­stone prices, Faberge is los­ing about $1 mil­lion (R11m) a month.

“We went for Faberge be­cause it is such a phe­nom­e­nal brand fo­cused on coloured­stones artistry. With Faberge we are help­ing grow­ing de­mand,” he said on Tues­day.

“But you can’t make money overnight after you buy an as­set. It takes a while to make it prof­itable. We are hop­ing Faberge to be break­ing even in 18 months to two years.”

Hare­bot­tle said the company was now work­ing on a re­vamp for Faberge which in­cluded new store de­signs and lo­ca­tions with new prod­ucts and pric­ings to cre­ate a more mod­ern-brand iden­tity.

Although Gemfields is aim­ing to in­crease the num­ber of Faberge stores from five to about 12 to 15 in the next few years, it is not look­ing to grow it fur­ther.

“Faberge is al­ways go­ing to be a frag­ment of our sales and I don’t want to com­pete with our cus­tomers but jointly grow our business,” Hare­bot­tle said. – Reuters


This Corona­tion Egg is a Faberge icon.

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