Founder and former head of Circa, Chris Del Gatto has recently set up a fund which offers companies within the diamond industry a way to sell excess inventory and apply for collateralized loans.
According to Del Gatto, “Industry financing is in a crisis. Banks are not funding this industry. In Antwerp, diamond companies can’t even get bank accounts.”
In order for the companies to receive a loan from Del Gatto Diamond Fund, they must first offer a portion of their inventory as an equal collateral. If the clients wish to sell the inventory, they may do so on the pre-owned diamond site I Do Now I Don’t, which merged with Del Gatto's company in 2015. Choosing this option will allow the proceeds of each sale to go towards paying back the initial loan.
“Other lenders take the goods and lock them up,” said Del Gatto in an interview with JCK. “What we are trying to do is put the goods to work for companies. They will then have the money to invest in things they are good at. It would be highly unusual where someone says I just want my goods locked away in a safe.”
Del Gatto's plans for the loans are to make them short-term solutions for diamond companies: “The longest loan that we want is a 12-month loan. We are there for when people have a purchase opportunity or maybe there is an issue with their receivables. We are not a bank in that we are not going to loan you money for three years. We are there as a short-term solution.”
Within the next six to eight months, Del Gatto's fund intends to lend $100 million to incoming clientele.