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Graff Diamonds Said to Win Nod for $1 Billion H.K. IPO

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May 4 (Bloomberg) -- Graff Diamonds Ltd. gained approval from Hong Kong’s stock exchange for a plan to raise as much as $1 billion in an initial public offering, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

The London-based jeweler may start gauging investor demand in the next two weeks, said the people, who declined to be identified because the process is private.

In seeking to list in Hong Kong, where Chinese consumers take advantage of lower tax rates than in the country’s mainland and splurge on luxury goods, Graff is following the footsteps of luxury retailer Prada SpA. Prada, the Italian fashion house that raised about $2.1 billion in June, has gained 34 percent from its IPO price.

Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley are managing the planned offering, the people said. Officials at Graff’s London office couldn’t immediately be reached to comment.

Graff runs a store in the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong. Founder and London jewelry dealer Laurence Graff bought a diamond in a 2010 sale for a record auction price of 45.4 million Swiss francs ($50 million). Graff had also paid 16.4 million pounds ($27 million) for the 35.56-carat grayish-blue Wittelsbach Diamond at Christie’s International in London in December 2008, then the highest price for a gem at auction.

To contact the reporters on this story: Fox Hu in Hong Kong at fhu7@bloomberg.net; Zijing Wu in London at zwu17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at lagerkranser@bloomberg.net