Report: Gitanjali Gems Interested in Whitehall

Indian diamond and jewelry manufacturer and retailer Gitanjali Gems is among the companies interested in buying Whitehall Jewelers Inc., according to a report in The Economic Times of India.

The company is looking to pay in the range of $80 million to $90 million for the Chicago-based jewelry chain, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection, according to the publication.

Gitanjali’s bid for Whitehall is part of Indian company’s move to strengthen its foothold in the U.S. jewelry market, according to the publication. US diamond jewelry sales account for about 50 percent of the global diamond jewelry sales. Diamond jewelry sales comprise 55 percent of total jewelry sales in the US.

In 2006, the company acquired US-based Samuels Jewelers.

Whitehall Jewelers Holdings, which operates Whitehall jewelers Inc., is controlled by private equity firm Prentice Capital Management. It operates approximately 373 retail stores in 39 states under the Whitehall and Lundstrom brand names, and employs 2,852 people.

Gitanjali Gems’s principal activity is to manufacture, export, and market jewelry, according to Thomson Financial. It operates in two segments namely: Diamonds includes manufacturing and export of cut and polished diamonds and sales in local market. Jewelry includes manufacturing and export of plain gold and diamond studded jewelry. The Group markets its products under the brand names namely D’Damas, Asmi, Sangini, Nakshatra, Gili, Giantti, and Collection G. The diamond manufacturing facilities are located at Borivali in Mumbai and at Surat in Gujarat. Its products are exported to the United States, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Middle East, and Thailand. In April 2007, the Group acquired D ‘Damas Jewellery India Private Limited and in May 2007, acquired Gitanjali Lifestyles limited. Also during the year it acquired Gitanjali Ventures DMCC, Dubai and Gitanjali, USA Inc.