A Regal Art Storage Firm Says Business Is Booming As Foreigners Pile In

Tom Burroughes Group Editor London 18 September 2012

A Regal Art Storage Firm Says Business Is Booming As Foreigners Pile In

The investment climate for fine art is booming at the moment, at least according to a 50 per cent jump in revenues of a storage and transportation firm so highly regarded that it works for the British monarchy.

Constantine said that, in the 12 months to August this year, its revenues had been boosted by demand from foreign investors; for example, 10 per cent of storage growth in the last year stemmed from crisis-torn Greece from where people took money. The firm said it has seen art storage growth of 30 per cent in the last year.

“Art investments are on the move and major collectors are emerging, acquiring art as part of their investment portfolios. The UK is seen as a safe haven, being outside the eurozone and art is beginning to flow in,” Tim Sutton, managing director at the firm, said.

“The current success of London’s art market is proving itself, not only with an increase in HNW individuals investing in the UK capital but also with high levels of activity in the auction houses and record-breaking visitor numbers to exhibitions (such as the Royal Academy’s David Hockney show). Art is proving to be a port in the investment storm for many of the world’s wealthy,” he said.

Asked if this rapid growth is sustainable - given that the art market has seen its busts as well as booms - the firm said demand for alternative assets such as fine art is actually boosted, not hurt, by wider economic woes; art is an asset prized by ultra high net worth families concerned about shifts in conventional markets.

The growth in business activity from Constantine’s London base is in revenue, relating to growth in storage income plus higher revenues from moving art, including installation, it said in response to questions from WealthBriefing.

Constantine has been expanding. For example, it has increased its logistics and storage capacity in the UK’s southeast region as well as other parts of the country.

The business was awarded a Royal Warrant for fine art packing in 2011, one of 850 such warrant holders in the world. It has worked with private collectors as well as bodies such as the UK’s National Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

To view an article on the art investments from the perspectives of family offices, click on this WealthBriefing article here.

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