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The Warsaw Voice » Business » September 2, 2011
Business & Economy
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‘Polish Sotheby’s’ Attracts Investors
September 2, 2011   
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Amid the turbulence buffeting capital markets, Polish investors are increasingly treating art as an alternative form of investment. The value of the Polish art market is estimated at zl.300 million, but the KPMG consulting company predicts it may rise to up to zl.6 billion in several years, as shown by the successful initial public offering of the closed-end Abbey Art Fund which invests in art. This was the first such offering in Poland and the Dom Aukcyjny Abbey House SA company which manages the fund is expected to see a major rise in its market value.

The Abbey Art Fund offering was addressed to 50 investors, 98 percent of whom accepted the offer, allowing the fund to raise a total of almost zl.4 million. What made the offering so successful was the air of novelty, Abbey Art Fund being the first such investment fund on the Polish market, and the strong performance of the art market which, Abbey Art Fund representatives say, is immune to changing conditions on financial markets.

“Interest in art as a form of investment keeps growing in Poland, as such investment is readily available,” said Paweł Makowski (pictured), a member of the Dom Aukcyjny Abbey House SA Supervisory Board. “The minimum investment per fund unit has been set at zl.50,000, while on global markets, the smallest unit in funds of this kind costs 100,000 euros.”

The success of the closed-end fund has prompted Abbey House to plan a new public offering. This will be available to a wider group of investors through a chain of banking institutions. The first contract will be signed in August and more banking institutions will soon follow suit.

“The financial results of Abbey House after the first half of this year have shown that forecasts and promises made to investors prior to the debut on the New Connect market were not unfounded,” said Makowski. “Given the net profit and the rapid revenue increase, the net results at the end of the year can be expected to reach zl.5 million.”

Abbey House, the owner of the Abbey Art Fund, is planning to enter international markets and promote Polish artists. The company is about to open a gallery in Berlin and will open galleries in Los Angeles, London and Dubai by the end of this year. Abbey House has a simple plan: to become the Polish counterpart of the famous Sotheby’s auction house in a matter of two to three years. At the same time, Abbey House wants to take part in auctions organized together with the world’s most prestigious auction houses such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillip de Purry & Co. The plan also involves exhibitions in Tokyo, the United States, China and India. Works exhibited abroad can be sold at prices several times higher than in Poland. The Abbey House management board is planning to hold four auctions every year in Poland and two abroad.

As part of its international strategy, Abbey House has started working with Sotheby’s Real Estate French Riviera, owned by the Sotheby’s auction house in London. As the company’s exclusive representative in Poland, Abbey House is able to provide its customers with access to the market for luxurious real estate around the world.

Abbey House has been included on a list of the 12 largest stock-listed companies dealing with the art market. The list has been compiled by Skate’s Art Market Research, a company which analyzes the global art market in terms of investment.
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