Sotheby’s have seen a 50% increase of revenues generated from private treaty sales for the third quarter of 2012.
Yet again the results underline just
how important this growing source of business is to the auction
house and its chief rival, Christie's. The two are now also thought
to be the world's largest dealers as a result of this
Overall, Sotheby's revenues grew 18%,
reaching $68.5m, largely thanks to the $4.9m private sales revenues
and a $1.6m boost in finance segment revenues.
The third quarter which runs to the
end of September traditionally returns a loss as it covers the
relatively inactive summer period. This year was no exception, with
Sotheby's declaring a pre-tax loss of $46.4m, but that was $11.5m
less of a loss than for the third quarter of 2011.
However, the net loss was up $2.8m
largely, says Sotheby's, because last year the company benefited
from a favourable reassessment of their tax liability.
It is likely to be the markets
themselves rather than internal tweaking that will have the most
significant impact on the company's performance by the end of the
The weakening Far Eastern market has
been evident in the comparison of results from the October sales in
Hong Kong: $261.9m in 2012 as opposed to $410.8m in
Overall, the first nine months of 2012
saw a 58% ($57.7m) fall in profits year on year. Again, Sotheby's
point to 2011 as a boom year, with a large number of single-owner
sales, as the reason for this year's decline, adding that this has
partially been offset by strengthening private treaty sales
Seasonal highlights have boosted revenues,
however, including Gerhard Richter's Abstraktes Bild,
a record for a work by a living artists when it took £19m in
London on October 12.
Chief executive Bill Ruprecht also
announced that Sotheby's had been able to restructure the company's
debt at far more favourable rates to contribute significantly to
the bottom line. The resulting savings will allow the company to
settle convertible notes, which form part of their debt security,
by the time they mature in June next year.
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