Ben Thanh Jewelry JSC, a jewelry and precious stone company in Vietnam has secured an investment of US$7.6 million from Mekong Capital via its Mekong Enterprise Fund (MEF) III.
This marks the venture capital firm’s second investment in a jewelry firm after Phu Nhuan Jewelry (PNJ) back in 2007.
The company completed the exit last year when Vietnam Azalea Fund, an investment fund under Mekong Capital has completed the sale of all of its shares in PNJ.
Founded in 1987 as a state-owned company, Ben Thanh Jewelry is a unit under the country’s major diversified enterprise Ben Thanh Group until it privatized 14 years ago.
“After its equitization in 2003, it has achieved great progress and now choosing MEF III as a strategic investor because of the added value that the fund and its management company Mekong Capital, will bring to our company,” said Shipra Jain, the CEO of the Ben Thanh Jewelry.
“Looking at some of the successful investments Mekong Capital has had in the past, we are very positive that this relationship will bring a new beginning for Ben Thanh Jewelry and take it to the new horizons of success and growth,” she further added.
As one of the oldest companies in gold and gemstone retail in Vietnam, Ben Thanh Jewelry sells sophisticated and unique jewelry online and offline, with a particular focus on the southern market via seven outlets in Ho Chi Minh City.
The new fund infusion will help Ben Thanh Jewelry build on its existing retail brand as well as to fund the launch of a new fine jewelry retail chain known as PRECITA.
Following this deal, the founder and partner of Mekong Capital, Chris Freund will enter Ben Thanh Jewelry as the chairman, alongside Truong Thi Dieu Le, a partner at the PE firm and Joe Lobbato, an advisor for Mekong Capital who used to lead Thai retailer Central Group.
Since its launch, other investments made by MEF III include deals in restaurant operator Wrap & Roll, ABA Logistics, and pawn shop F88.