Weng Fine Art AG: Art trading business also continues to grow dynamically

17 Aug. 2021 / Pressemitteilungen

Weng Fine Art AG (WFA) can today announce the preliminary figures as of June 30, 2021 for the B2B art trading business sub-segment:  

Turnover of goods increased very strongly in the first six months of the fiscal year 2021 from 986 TEUR to 3,117 TEUR (+ 216 %). It has to be taken into account that especially the 2nd quarter of the previous year was strongly affected by the Covid pandemic. However, the current half-year revenue is also significantly higher than the pre-pandemic comparative figures for 2018 (EUR 2,205 thousand) and 2019 (EUR 1,493 thousand).  

Management expects B2B trading revenue to continue to increase in H2 compared to H1.

While turnover of goods have more than tripled, costs have only increased by about 6% from EUR 374 thousand to EUR 398 thousand. Taking into account the dividend payment of the subsidiary ArtXX AG, EBIT increased from 165 TEUR to 1,173 TEUR (+ 611 %). Interest expenses, on the other hand, only increased from EUR 97 thousand to EUR 115 thousand (+ 19 %).  

Due to the favorable sales and cost development, the pre-tax profit in H1 2021 for the B2B trading business based in Germany increased to 1,057 TEUR compared to only 68 TEUR in the Covid year 2020 (+ 1,455 %).  

The final results can be communicated within the consolidated group figures, currently planned for October.  

CEO Rüdiger K. Weng: "I am pleased that also this year our B2B art trading business within the WFA Group is making a substantial contribution to our success. We are successfully managing this business with a currently still very small team, as WFA's priorities in recent months have been in other business segments. In addition to the development of new business areas, however, the B2B art trade is to be further expanded in the coming year. Furthermore, we expect this business segment to benefit strongly from tokenization in the medium term.”  

Authorized officer Sabine Lachenmaier: “WFA's roots are in art trading. We would not have gotten involved if we did not see great potential here as well. This certainly also means that the traditional business must be re-evaluated and adjusted against the backdrop of very current issues regarding the digital trade in art as an asset. Parallel to the other business areas that the WFA is currently driving forward, we are also striving for a significantly broader positioning in terms of personnel in the coming year in order to be able to grow further.”  

In the 2nd half of 2021, Weng Fine Art AG expects a high income from the sale of treasury stock. In July and August, the sale of 50,000 WFA shares already generated a profit of approximately EUR 1.7 million. This may increase by a further EUR 3 - 5 million through the sale of the last 100,000 treasury shares, as these are only shown in the balance sheet at EUR 1/share each. The income from the share sales is tax-free and is booked directly to equity, which could thus increase to significantly more than EUR 20 million in the WFA Group.  

The strategic investment in artnet AG (Artnet), which is also accounted for in the German WFA AG, currently contains hidden reserves of more than EUR 5 million. The expense to hold this investment, on the other hand, is relatively low at approximately 35 TEUR calculated interest/year. However, Artnet has never been able to pay a dividend to its shareholders since the IPO 22 years ago. WFA assumes that the company will never be able to pay a dividend under the current management.  

Artnet's just published half-year figures were once again disappointing. As in recent years, increased sales are offset by higher losses and no profits. It is apparent that under the current management, the company is unable to successfully monetize its market position as a leading data provider in the art market.  

Weng Fine Art continues to strive to replace Artnet's supervisory board no later than next year so that the company can be recapitalized and finally become sustainably profitable. Currently, Artnet's equity amounts to only EUR 4.75 million and its management is again forecasting a loss for 2021. In order to replace the Supervisory Board, a simple majority at next year's Annual General Meeting will suffice. Against this background, a public takeover offer by WFA AG for Artnet shares is not planned for the foreseeable future. 

The preliminary figures of ArtXX AG are expected to be published on August 23.