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Scio Diamond Successfully Completes Funding

Dec 22, 2014 12:23 PM   By Scio Diamond
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Press Release:  Scio Diamond Technology Corporation today announced it has closed $2.5 million in growth funding from Heritage Gemstone Investors (HGI) to double production of its lab-grown diamonds and refinance debt. In addition, the two companies agreed on terms for a second phase of funding from HGI that will take place in 2015 to further increase the company’s production capacity by up to 10 times.

Also, two Scio Diamond board members, Bruce Likely and Lewis Smoak, have increased their equity investment in the company, following investments the two individuals made in the company in October. Another board member, Karl Leaverton, also invested in the company in December.

The funding from HGI will used to refinance a $1.5 million loan from Platinum Capital Partners at more favorable terms, reducing Scio Diamond’s borrowing costs by more than 10 percent. The doubling of capacity will come from the purchase of additional production platforms in a larger size.

“Scio Diamond has been a pioneer in developing the technology behind the success in lab-grown diamonds,” noted Vivian Wong from HGI. “We believe the company is well-positioned to be a major factor in expanding the market for lab-grown diamonds.”

Gerald McGuire, the president of Scio Diamond, said, “Our growth strategy is designed to take advantage of both near term and future market opportunities that we believe will make Scio Diamond the leader in lab-grown diamonds. Our investors and board members believe strongly that lab-grown diamonds are a promising growth market. These investments illustrate the high level of confidence that they have in Scio’s management team and business plan.”

The worldwide diamond jewelry market has been estimated by the World Diamond Council at more than $72 billion. Lab-grown diamonds, with identical properties as mined diamonds, are a growing portion of the market and expected to increase by 50 percent  at a compound annual growth rate through 2018, according to Frost & Sullivan’s 2014 market assessment of grown diamonds.  In the report, Frost & Sullivan pointed out that “change in consumer preferences tending towards environmentally and socially responsible products is a key driver for the acceptance of grown diamonds.”

Bain & Company’s 2014 report on the global diamond industry noted that “diamond demand is expected to outpace future supply.”  These developments could accelerate demand for grown diamonds. In 2014, SCIO named a new board of directors, hired a new executive team and developed a new business plan. The company added “fancy” colored diamonds to its product lineup, along with colorless stones for jewelers and cutting devices and electronics for manufacturers.

In its fiscal year ending on March 31, 2014, the company increased net revenue by more than $500,000 over 2013. The company reduced operating expenses from $8.1 million to $5.6 million from 2013 to 2014.

About Scio Diamond
Scio Diamond employs a patent-protected chemical vapor deposition process to produce high-quality, single-crystal colorless, near colorless and fancy colored diamonds for the jewelry market in a controlled laboratory setting. Lab-grown diamonds are chemically, physically and optically identical to “earth-mined” diamonds. Scio’s technology offers the flexibility to produce lab-grown diamonds in size, color and quality combinations that are rare in earth-mined diamonds. Scio also delivers diamond materials for advanced industrial, medical and semiconductor applications.

About Heritage Gemstone Investors
HGI is a collaborative group of investors based in Greenville, South Carolina. The group includes Vivian Wong, William Coleman and Sudhirkumar C. Patel.

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Tags: diamonds, funding, scio diamond, synthetic, technology
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