Revenue at the auctioneer Sotheby’s has gone up, way up. The company reported record first half revenues of $489.4 million, the highest ever first half consolidated sales of $3.4 billion and its highest ever quarterly net income of $127.2 million in the second quarter.
“This is the best quarter in Sotheby’s history,” said Bill Ruprecht, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Great works of art are enormously desirable to collectors from every corner of the world right now. Our operating metrics, in terms of earnings and EBITDA margins, are at historic levels, and we continue to enjoy great opportunity in both traditional as well as newer market environments.
Ruprecht continued: “Record first half consolidated sales (up by 44 percent) reflected the surge of activity from buyers and sellers across China as well as significant increases in auction sales in each of our four principal selling centers. Private sales, up 114 percent in the half, were another important contributor to these outstanding results. As I look back on these extraordinary six months for our business, the global appeal of art was one of the few constants in a period of continued economic uncertainty.
For the three and six months ended June 30, 2011, Sotheby’s net income increased by 48 percent and 54 percent to $127.2 million and $129.7 million, respectively, when compared to the prior year. This improvement is principally due to significantly higher auction and private sale commission revenues, partially offset by a decline in auction commission margin to 16.4 percent in both periods, from 18.7 percent in the second quarter of 2010 and 18.3 percent in the first half of 2010. Competitive pressures to win high value consignments resulted in lower commission margins, as Sotheby’s consolidated sales reached a record $3.4 billion in the first half of 2011.